NFL: Wembley claim they could host a London based NFL franchise
Two NFL games are due to be held at the national stadium in the coming weeks
Tuesday 24 September 2013
Wembley Stadium is willing and able to host any prospective London-based NFL franchise, and could do so alongside the “priority” demands of football, according to senior figures within the Football Association.
On Sunday the stadium will host the first of two NFL games this season, when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Minnesota Vikings in front of a full house. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, has become increasingly keen on establishing a franchise in London, having been impressed by the success of the one-off matches staged there.
Goodell suggested this summer the “London Whatevers” are likely to become a reality at some stage – “the more we see, the more we like it,” he said of the idea of a long-term London franchise – and the managing director of Wembley Stadium, a subsidiary of the Football Association, said today the demands of staging regular American football games were not a problem for the stadium, or the pitch.
Roger Maslin, Wembley’s managing director, insisted Sunday’s match would leave no mark on the playing surface ahead of England’s decisive World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland next month, and nor would it be an issue should American football be played every second week during the season.
“We have no qualms whatsoever about delivering a fantastic surface for England,” said Maslin. “We would be very happy to facilitate NFL at Wembley. We can hold games every couple of weeks, absolutely. Clearly, with the calendar we have to look very, very carefully and make sure we have the right balance. Football is our priority but I am absolutely confident that if Roger Goodell wanted to have a franchise here that we could absolutely deliver on it.”
There have been suggestions that the Jacksonville Jaguars, who will play a game at Wembley for four successive seasons from this year, could be the franchise in question. The Jaguars are owned by Shahid Khan, who this summer bought Fulham, and face the San Francisco 49ers next month.
Both this season’s games sold out within hours and it is that appetite that so appeals to the NFL. It reflects Wembley’s – and London’s – growing stature as a sporting venue. Uefa has been won over by the two recent Champions League finals held in London, although it is unlikely to be enough to secure the final and semi-finals of Euro 2020 for Wembley.
England and Wales are among eight countries bidding for the final stages of the Uefa president Michel Platini’s scattered tournament. Turkey are favourites but England stand a good chance of instead hosting one of the groups and a quarter-final.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 final preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie gives his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Comfortable in their own skin
- 3 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...