NFL chiefs are expected to approve plans ensuring London will host at least two regular season games starting in the 2022 season.
According to internal documents consulted by City AM., NFL team owners will vote on proposals to host four international games per year – two in London, one in Berlin or Munich and one in Mexico City – with the teams chosen on a rotational basis.
The vote, which takes place today or tomorrow, is expected to be passed as part of a larger restructuring of the championship season.
Fans have grown accustomed to four games played in the UK in recent years.
However, City AM understands that individual clubs could volunteer to play in London regardless of the two league-mandated matches already scheduled to be held here, raising the prospect of additional matches in the UK.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars have played in London every season since 2013, and owner Shahid Khan – who also funds Fulham FC – is said to be keen to grow the team’s fan base in the UK.
The proposals, which will be voted on today or tomorrow at the league’s annual general meeting, could also see the NFL say goodbye at Wembley Stadium.
Instead, the two mandatory matches would be staged at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.
The league plan would see ‘high-traffic’ teams play ‘where / when’ international matches possible, suggesting that UK’s most popular clubs may well see a game scheduled for N17.
The vote is part of a larger extension of the league’s season from 16 to 17 games, with teams in a conference receiving an additional inter-conference home game.
According to the plans, it would be the teams of this conference which would be in the rotation of the “home games” for the international games.
The NFL has been playing regular season games in London since 2007. Only the Green Bay Packers have yet to play in London, although the new formula suggests they could make the trip in 2022.
The league has yet to confirm whether matches will be held in London in 2021. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said this remains his ambition, but the uncertainty of Covid-19 continues to weigh heavily.