Coronavirus: Four NFL London matches shelved
- Credit: PA
London will not host an NFL game this year for the first time since 2006 after plans to stage four matches in the capital were shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium were due to stage two games each later this year, but the NFL on Monday announced that all its 2020 fixtures will take place in the United States to cut down on travel. The full season schedule is due to be published later this week.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons were among the teams due to play in London this year, continuing a series which began with a meeting between Miami and the New York Giants back in 2007.
NFL UK’s managing director Alistair Kirkwood said: “The NFL’s London Games have become a major part of the NFL season and the UK sports calendar.
“But the uncertainty in the current sporting landscape and the tremendous amount of long-term travel and planning required to stage successful London games mean this is the sensible decision to make.”
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The league had also been due to stage a game in Mexico City this year, but that too will not take place.
However, NFL executive vice-president Christopher Halpin said international play would return next year.
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“We greatly appreciate the support of our governmental and stadium partners in Mexico and the United Kingdom, who all agree with this decision, and we look forward to returning for games in both countries in the 2021 season,” he said.
The news will come as a blow to both the Football Association and Tottenham, who earn valuable revenue from the NFL using their facilities.
Tottenham’s new stadium features custom-built locker rooms for NFL teams, with hosting games part of the club’s long-term strategy.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “We look forward to welcoming everyone from the NFL back to Tottenham in 2021 as we further develop our unique partnership and create even more memorable game days.
“Until then, we wish the NFL a successful season ahead and send our sincere thoughts and well wishes to everyone who has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.”