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NFL commits to Mexico after Azteca game moved

The NFL American football league has confirmed that it will return to Estadio Azteca as planned in 2019 after this year’s game at the Mexico City stadium was cancelled.

The NFL last week switched its scheduled Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs from the Azteca to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after ruling that the pitch at the Mexico City venue presented “unnecessary risks” to player safety.

The game went ahead in LA yesterday (Monday), with the Azteca missing out on a classic as the Rams emerged as 54-51 winners over the Chiefs. It marked the third highest scoring NFL game ever and the first time two teams have scored more than 50 points in a match.

The NFL confirmed yesterday that it would return to the Azteca next year to stage the third game of an agreement that was signed in 2016. The announcement followed meetings between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Mexico’s President-Elect Manuel López Obrador.

The date and time of the game will be determined in conjunction with the release of the 2019 NFL schedule next spring.

The Azteca pitch was deemed unplayable for yesterday’s game after the stadium hosted a Telehit music concert on November 7 and a Liga MX football match between Cruz Azul and Lobos BUAP last weekend. The stadium’s playing surface was changed from natural grass to a hybrid composition in May, and stadium officials have had issues with the pitch for several months.

Heading into yesterday’s game, both the Rams and the Chiefs had a 9-1 record and the fixture marked just the fifth meeting since 1970 between teams with one or fewer losses in Week 11 of the season or later.

Image: Estadio Azteca