The NFL has confirmed two matches to be played in London this October at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium following a year without games in the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The four teams will boast a host of young stars taken high in the recent NFL Draft, including Kyle Pitts at the Atlanta Falcons, who will host the Zach Wilson, this year’s No 2 pick, and the New York Jets on October 10.
While the No 1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, will be in action with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are owned by Fulham’s owner Shahid Khan, to face the Miami Dolphins, who will boast the No 6 pick Jaylen Waddle, a week later.
The coronavirus pandemic meant last year was the first since 2007 that there was no NFL game in the capital, but the league has worked with the UK Government to enable a return this year, subject to the situation continuing to improve.
“We are excited to be returning to London and welcoming back our fans for two great match-ups,” said the NFL’s executive vice-president Christopher Halpin. “We expect these games to be a celebration of our sport and our robust UK fan base.
“We have been working closely with the UK Government, the city of London and the relevant health organisations over the past year in planning the games.
“Through their successful vaccine rollout and commitment to bringing crowds back to sports events, the time is right for the return of NFL football this fall.
“We will continue to monitor the Covid environment, putting health and safety first, and will adhere to any and all future Covid regulations and restrictions.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the NFL’s decision to return was an endorsement of the UK’s handling of the pandemic.
“The NFL has become a regular fixture in the UK’s brilliant sporting calendar and I’m delighted to welcome the League back to London for another season,” he said.
“This is a major vote of confidence in our country’s progress to bring coronavirus under control and our ability to stage major sporting events safely.
“Our Events Research Programme is playing an important role in testing the safe return of fans and will inform our decision-making on getting people back watching live sport again safely in greater numbers.”
London has hosted 28 NFL games since 2007, with the city becoming a second home to the Jaguars, who will be playing their eighth game in the capital, while the Dolphins return for a fifth time.
PA contributed to this report
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