NFL moving London, Mexico City games back to US stadiums

NFL

FILE – This Oct. 3, 2018 file photo shows a view of the exterior of Wembley Stadium in London. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play two home games in London next season, strengthening the franchise’s foothold in an overseas market the NFL is eager to expand.
The Jaguars will play back-to-back games at historic Wembley Stadium, giving them a potential “home-field” advantage in the second one since they won’t have to travel that week. Specific dates were not announced.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

The NFL is moving its five games scheduled for London and Mexico City this season back to U.S. stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic. All five regular-season games will be played at the stadiums of the host teams.

Scheduled were two home games for the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London and two at Tottenham’s new facility, with the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins as hosts. The Arizona Cardinals were to be the home team for the game at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Opponents had not been announced.

The NFL said in a statement Monday that “in order for the entire season to be played in NFL teams’ stadia under consistent protocols focused on the well-being of players, personnel and fans … Commissioner Roger Goodell made this decision after consultation with our clubs, national and local governments, the NFL Players Association, medical authorities and international stadium partners.”

The NFL has staged regular-season games in London every year since 2007. Since 2013, the Jaguars have hosted one game there each season.

“While the NFL’s many fans in London, the U.K. and Europe will obviously be disappointed by this news, it is absolutely the right decision to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the sport,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said. “I know that the NFL remains fully committed to London and I look forward to welcoming NFL teams back to the capital in 2021.”

Mexico City has had a regular-season game in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

“After considerable analysis, we believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the U.S., Mexico and U.K.,” said Christopher Halpin, an NFL executive vice president. “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.”

The league is set to release the full schedule on Thursday night and is planning on adhering to it, though contingencies are being discussed as a safeguard against the pandemic.

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