American Football: London takes the lead as favourite to host NFL game

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The Independent Online

Having won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, London appears poised to add another international event to a developing sporting portfolio later this year.

Next week, the National Football League plans to announce the venue for a regular-season American football game to be played in Europe this year. It is believed London will beat off competition from a number of German cities.

The NFL voted last October to play a game abroad, with London, Germany, Mexico and Toronto competing to stage the contest. The latter two have since been eliminated, leaving a straight fight between the Europeans.

Several German cities, including Hamburg and Frankfurt, have made bids, but London is the front-runner, the cause aided by the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who has discussed it with the NFL. Mr Livingstone is believed to be on the guest list for next month's Super Bowl in Miami.

A spokesman for the mayor said: "We can confirm that London has been involved in the bidding process. The mayor has worked with Visit London on this. The NFL, however, has not yet announced a decision on which country has won the right to stage the game. The mayor will take a decision on any trip in light of the announcement."

By coincidence, Miami is one of six franchises shortlisted to be the "home" team for the game. The others are San Francisco, Seattle, Buffalo, New Orleans and Kansas City. Miami's NFL team, the Dolphins, have long been one of the most popular clubs in the UK. An announcement concerning the site of the 2007 NFL game is expected next Tuesday. If the London bid succeeds as anticipated, Wembley or Twickenham will stage the match.