FA confirms talks with Jacksonville Jaguars about hosting NFL home games in Wembley and owner Shahid Khan – who previously tried to buy the national stadium for £ 600 million – is keen to keep the franchise’s London base
- Jacksonville Jaguars played a match at Wembley every year from 2013-2019
- Wembley’s deal to host games expired in 2020 after first setting up a game in 2007
- The NFL also wants to expand to Canada, South America and Germany
- The FA said there are “positive talks” going on with Shahid Khan and the Jaguars
The FA has confirmed that they are in talks with the Jacksonville Jaguars to host NFL games at Wembley.
Owned by Fulham supremo Shahid Khan, the Jaguars have played a game every season at the national stadium since 2013 before Covid-19 saw the NFL’s international schedule postpone.
This week, the NFL announced plans for each of its 32 teams to play overseas from 2022, with at least four games on neutral grounds each season. England has been playing games since 2007 and Mexico since 2016.
The FA is in positive talks with the Jacksonville Jaguars about hosting competitions at Wembley
The four-game slate would see two games per season at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as part of the 10-year deal signed in 2018.
With the NFL looking to expand into Canada, South America and Germany – the Allianz Arena in Munich and the Olympiastadion in Berlin are being touted as venues – Wembley falls outside of its new plans after the deal expired last year.
But as it announced its new international schedule, the NFL said, “Interested clubs can continue to sign up to play home games internationally, as they do now.”
In a statement, the FA said Sportsmail“We remain in ongoing, positive discussions with the Jacksonville Jaguars about hosting future games at Wembley Stadium, so we are in no position to comment further.”
“The FA has good relations with the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars, which have hosted games at Wembley Stadium for over a decade.”
The Jags played a home game in the national stadium every season from 2013-2019
Khan attempted to buy Wembley for £ 600m in 2018 and there are frequent rumors about his desire to move the Jaguars to London.
“Our annual home games in London have strengthened our franchise … and established the Jaguars as the team to follow in London, the UK and Europe,” the franchise told Sky Sports.
Chris Halpin, the NFL’s chief strategy and growth officer, said, “Our Wembley deal ended after the season. The NFL and the Jaguars have productive talks with Wembley. They were a great partner and an important part of the NFL UK experience. There is no agreement yet, but a productive ongoing dialogue. ‘
After the NFL announced its expanded 17-game 2021 season, the schedule will be announced in May.
Ahead of the Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league plans to play games abroad, if it’s safe to do so with the pandemic.
Wembley first hosted an NFL game in 2007, but their deal to play games expired in 2020
“We are planning international competitions in 2021, that is the approach we are going to take,” he said.
The NFL has played 31 games overseas – 28 in England and three in Mexico.
Wembley hosted one game per season until 2013, when a double-header was introduced. Two games quickly became three in 2014, and the slate expanded to four in 2017.
The following year, that was reduced to three games per season before Wembley and Tottenham each hosted two games in 2019.
In 2020, there were plans for the Jaguars to play back-to-back games at Wembley on consecutive weekends amid a four-game slate.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host two matches per season as part of a 10-year contract
The NFL expanded to Mexico in 2016 with three games at the Azteca Stadium. That should have been four, but the 2018 meeting between the LA Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs switched to Los Angeles due to concerns about the field.
With players complaining about the playing surface at Wembley – and the size of the locker rooms at Twickenham – the NFL was forced to join Tottenham.
The state-of-the-art stadium – with a retractable playing surface and the largest locker rooms in the NFL – is a home from home for the NFL.