American Football: European plan

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THE National Football League has announced plans to invest in the development of American football at grassroots level throughout Europe. According to Oliver Luck, director of European operations, the NFL will invest a minimum of dollars 250,000 ( pounds 165,000) in the project over the next few months, writes Nick Halling.

The aim of the World Partnership programme, which will operate primarily in Britain, Germany and Spain, is to raise the sport's profile among children and teenagers through a series of coaching clinics. The programme will help fill the void left by the suspension of the World League, which based teams in London, Frankfurt and Barcelona as well as throughout north America.

Chuck Noll, the head coach who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, is the most prominent name to be associated with the programme, which features a number of former NFL and World League coaches. Noll's party commences its educational tour in Dusseldorf next month before arriving for a 12-day stay in Britain on 13 February.

There are 130 American football teams in the Britain. An estimated 85,000 play the game at amateur level across the Continent.