The Aer Lingus Classic college American football game between Notre Dame and Navy will no longer be played at the Aviva Stadium on 29 August, and will now take place in the United States.

The game had been in doubt since the Government announced a ban in April on all gatherings in excess of 5,000 people until September.

However, organisers told RTÉ Sport in April that the fixture did not require a licence, so would therefore not be covered by that regulation.

Uncertainty over the varsity clash came to an end today with a statement which read: "Following extensive consultation with the Irish government, medical authorities and the leadership teams at Navy and Notre Dame, the Aer Lingus Classic football game scheduled for 29 August will not be played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

"It is the intention of both Navy and Notre Dame to open the 2020 college football season with the 94th consecutive playing of the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, USA."

"We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August," said Naval Academy director of athletics Chet Gladchuk. 

"But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved. I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large. 

"I realise many are disappointed and were looking forward to the spectacle of this event and a visit to the Emerald Isle, but I do know there is a complete understanding of why it's in our best interests to make every effort to relocate the game."

"Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020," said Jack Swarbrick, vice president and James E. Rohr director of athletics at Notre Dame.

"The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice. We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future."

A total of 39,566 US visitors had booked to travel for the college football season opener, which would have made it the largest number of American’s to travel outside of the United States for a single sporting event.

In addition to the large number that planned to travel, the game was due to be televised coast-to-coast in the US by ESPN to an estimated six million viewers.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "College football is one of the greatest spectacles in world sport and we had been thoroughly looking forward to welcoming Navy and Notre Dame here this summer for the first game of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic Series.

"Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, that is now not possible, but we hope to see both universities return to Aviva Stadium in the coming years."

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