Smile Politely

Originally planned for Ireland, Illinois Football’s 2021 opener moved home to Memorial Stadium

Illinois Football’s 2021 season opener against Nebraska, originally planned to take place in Dublin, Ireland, will return home. Just a short while ago, the team announced the August 28th game would no longer happen in Ireland due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


2021 Illini Season Opener Moved from Dublin to Champaign

Illinois Hopes to Return to Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Future

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Following extensive consultation with the Irish government, medical authorities and the administrative staffs at Illinois and Nebraska, the 2021 season opening football game scheduled for August 28 between the Fighting Illini and Cornhuskers will not be played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two teams still plan to open the 2021 season on Aug. 28, but now the game will be played at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. 

“This is very disappointing for our athletic program, our team and for the fans who were planning to attend the game in Dublin,” said Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. “For our players, staff and fans, this would have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We will work diligently with Irish American Events and the Big Ten Conference to find a future opportunity for us to take Fighting Illini Football to the Emerald Isle.”

“It is desperately disappointing that it is necessary to cancel the 2021 Aer Lingus College Football Classic but public health must take precedent,” said Neil Naughton, Chairman of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. “These games offer huge publicity potential, practical economic benefits, and a genuine expression of the close ties between Ireland and the United States. We have made great friends with both the University of Illinois and the University of Nebraska and I look forward to welcoming them back to Ireland in the not-too-distant future and giving their travelling fans the welcome Ireland is so famous for.”

Ticketholders will be contacted by their purchase provider in the coming days.

Top image from

Related Articles