The American Football League (NFL) plans to play international games in Mexico and the United Kingdom again in 2021, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Thursday in a press conference ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl.
In its 2020 schedule, the NFL planned to play a regular season game at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, with four in London and two at Wembley Stadium and two other matches at Tottenham Hotspur.
The disintegration of the coronovirus epidemic, however, led the NFL to cancel all these games in May, whose celebration is now on the table again.
Goodell said, “We are planning international matches for 2021. That is the strategy we are going to take. We keep in touch with our partners in the UK and Mexico.
“If at any point we feel we cannot execute it safely, we will make a determination,” he said. “Last year we decided not to play an international match (…) after consulting not only our medical officers, but also taking the risk of traveling the entire group together with the players’ union to the stadium where we would not go. Were to be able to implement our protocol “.
“We hope that we will make a comeback, we are planning it, and we will make this decision when we have enough information to make it,” he said.
The pandemic also forced the NFL to cancel the preseason and suspend several games of the campaign in 2020, the Super Bowl game played by the heads of the Kansas City on Sunday, the reigns of champions, and the Tampons in Tampa (Florida) Bay will end with the Buccaneers. .).
– “I don’t know if normality will come back” –
Regarding the safety conditions for the next season, Goodell acknowledged that even the introduction of distribution of Kovid-19 vaccines does not guarantee a return to previous conditions.
“One of the things I’ve learned is not to project long ago because it’s hard to do,” he said.
“I don’t know when normality will return, and I don’t know if normality will ever return,” he admitted. “But I know that we have learned to live in a very difficult environment, we have developed solutions and we will do it again. We believe this year has been a lesson for us.”
The commissioner also promised that the NFL would not waive “to provide vaccinations to its players and employees”.
“We support the priorities set by medical experts for the vaccine,” he said.
Goodell said that any decision on the return of stadium fans – most NFL games have been played in empty stadiums in this stadium.
The NFL has invited 7,500 vaccinated health workers to participate in Sunday’s Super Bowl as part of a limited capacity of about 25,000 spectators.
– Minorities in NFL –
Regarding efforts to achieve greater racial equality in the NFL, Goodell acknowledged that the latest coaching recruiting process did not produce the expected results in that area.
Of the seven head coach positions vacant after the regular season, only two were awarded to minority candidates: African-American David Cully joined the Houston Texans of Arab descent and Robert Saleh, hired by the New York Jets.
These additions increased the number of minority head coaches to five in the league’s 32 teams.
Goodell said the issue dominated conversations between NFL officials and team owners over the past year.
The commissioner insisted, “We had two minority coaches this year, but this was not what we expected, and that’s not what we expected.”
Although the NFL introduced the groundbreaking “Rooney Rule” in 2003 – requiring teams to interview ethnic minority candidates each time a head coach position is vacated – the policy has not changed much.
The NFL today has the same number of three African-American coaches when the rule was implemented 18 years ago.
The NFL has received allegations of institutional racism in recent seasons because despite the tendency for teams to favor white candidates for head coach positions, the percentage of black players has reached 70%.
“We will keep watching and see what went right and what went wrong,” Goodell said of the upcoming interaction with the teams.
rcw-gbv / gfe