NFL planning to stage games in London this year if given Covid all-clear

Jacksonville Jaguars' Najee Goode is introduced to the crowd prior to the NFL International Series match at Wembley Stadium, London.
Jacksonville Jaguars' Najee Goode is introduced to the crowd at Wembley Stadium in 2019

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is planning for international games in the UK to go ahead in 2021 but a final decision will depend on the fight against coronavirus.

The cancellation of last season’s international slate – which was due to see four regular-season games played in London and one in Mexico City – was announced last May due to the global pandemic.

A similar fate may yet await plans for the coming season, but Goodell said on Thursday he hoped the games, which generally take place in October, would go ahead.

“We are planning for international games in 2021, that’s the approach we’re going to take,” he said.

“We’re obviously going to stay in close contact with our partners in the UK and Mexico and make sure that we are doing that safely.

“If at any point we don’t think we can execute on it safely we will make that determination…

“We hope to get back there and we’re planning for it and we’ll make that decision whenever we have enough information to do so.”

Houston Texans' Duke Johnson carries the ball during the NFL International Series match in 2019

Games were due to be staged at both Wembley and Tottenham’s stadium last year but Goodell said there were concerns over the safety of bringing in such a large travelling party and enforcing protocols at stadiums not under NFL control.

The cancellation meant it was the first year since 2007 that Wembley had not hosted at least one NFL regular-season game.

Both Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would be in line to host games if the slate went ahead in 2021.

The schedule for the 2021 season is due to be announced in the spring.