The National Football League (NFL) has cancelled its scheduled events in the UK and Mexico as it announces all remaining 2020 games will be played only in the United States.
The announcement was made in order to protect the safety of all players, fans and personnel involved by having NFL games played at its team’s stadiums under constant protocols as soon as it is able to resume.
By hosting all NFL games domestically, the league will be able to monitor safety more effectively whilst also limiting unnecessary travel during the coronavirus crisis.
NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Christopher Halpin stated: “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 US, Mexico and UK.
“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.
“We also thank our incredible fans in those territories for their passionate support of the NFL. We will continue to serve them through our outstanding media partners and by being active supporters of both grassroots football and COVID-19 relief efforts in Mexico and the UK.”
The NFL had planned to play four games in London, two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and two at Wembley Stadium in the 2020 season, whilst also selecting one game to be played in Mexico City. As a result of the cancellation, all of the teams who were selected as the hosts of the International Series games will be playing in their respective home stadia.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, stated: “While the NFL’s many fans in London, the UK 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. I know that the NFL remains fully committed to London and I look forward to welcoming NFL teams back to the capital in 2021.”
Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy added: “We fully appreciate the difficult decision that the NFL has had to make, given the unprecedented circumstances everyone around the world is facing.
“We were overwhelmed with the response we received from everyone at the inaugural NFL matches in Tottenham last year at our new stadium – the sport’s only purpose-built stadium outside of the United States – and we were proud to deliver world-class facilities for the NFL family.
“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.”
Wembley Stadium has hosted an NFL game for the last 13 consecutive seasons with the International Series seen by the organisation as a huge opportunity to introduce new fans to the sport. The NFL joins the long list of events, such as the NHL draft, which have had to be postponed or canceled in order to facilitate with the ever changing COVID-19 landscape.