American football’s governing body in Ireland said it looked forward to a ‘collaborative relationship’ with those responsible for upcoming college games in Dublin, after spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs in previous disputes with match organizers.
Last week’s annual general meeting of the Irish American Football Association (IAFA) heard it had spent €40,000 on legal fees since 2012, nearly double what the amateur organization receives in annual funding of the governing body of the state.
A five-game college football series will take place in Dublin – the first between the US Navy and the University of Notre Dame at Aviva Stadium in August 2020 – but the association said it “does not plan to spend nearly ” of the same amount in terms of legal costs.
In 2016, the association initiated arbitration proceedings against the organizers of the college football game between Boston College and Georgia Tech which took place at the Aviva in September of the same year.
The dispute centered on legal fees which the IAFA said were owed by the match organisers. There were questions about whether the IAFA – as the sport’s governing body in Ireland – would sanction the match.
Meanwhile, in 2012, the IAFA threatened legal action against the US Navy ahead of its Aviva Stadium clash with Notre Dame. The association claimed the Navy breached the terms of a sanctioning agreement it reached with the IAFA before the game.
Both issues were resolved and both matches went ahead, but the extent of the legal costs was revealed to IAFA members at last week’s AGM.
“IAFA’s litigation with the Navy has long since been officially and finally dropped,” an IAFA spokesperson said.
“Since the conclusion of these disputes, the IAFA has contacted a number of American football institutions, including the Navy, and has made it clear that the IAFA is very keen to develop the sport of American football in Ireland, to both domestically and using exciting new international opportunities. ”
The spokesperson said the IAFA’s legal expenses from 2012 to date on all matters, including but not limited to disputes with the US Navy, amounted to €40,000, and that this was a “gross expense figure and does not include monies recovered or reimbursed by others”. parties”.
“With respect to legal fees previously expended for historic actions between IAFA and the Navy, these legal fees related to matters arising from the sanctioning of football games,” the spokesperson said.
“The IAFA is run exclusively by and for volunteers and does not anticipate spending so much money on legal costs in relation to upcoming college football matches played in Ireland.”
Sport Ireland – formerly the Irish Sports Council – awarded the association €160,800 in grants to national governing bodies from 2012 to 2018 inclusive. She has received €23,000 in funding per year since 2016.
“Sport Ireland supports recognized national sport governing bodies to develop sustainable and effective structures to facilitate increased participation and volunteering in a wide range of sports,” he said.