LOS ANGELES (AP) – The NFL relocated the Rams Monday night with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday due to poor conditions at the Azteca Stadium from Los Angeles to Los Angeles.
The league announced the extraordinary decision six days before one of the most anticipated games of the regular season of the year.
The Rams (9-1) will host the Chiefs (9-1) in the Coliseum instead. The highly anticipated game is just the fifth meeting between teams with one or fewer losses in week 11 or later.
The decision creates a morass on logistical concerns for the teams and fans traveling to Mexico and disappointed thousands of fans who want to see a marquee in the most populous city in North America. However, the league consulted the players 'association and local officials before deciding not to endanger players' health on a damaged playing field.
The combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy event calendar at multiple events The stadium has caused significant damage to the field, posing unnecessary risks to player safety and rendering it unsuitable for hosting an NFL game & # 39 said Mark Waller, executive vice president of NFL. & # 39; & # 39; As a result, we decided that postponing the game was the right decision and we had to announce it now so that our teams and fans can make alternative arrangements. & # 39; & # 39;
Azteca officials changed the course From natural grass to a hybrid in May, but the turf has not been ideal for a few months. Concern about the pitch grew in recent days as aerial photos of the stadium suffered severe grass damage, especially at the end of the stadium recently used for a big concert.
Cruz Azul, the MX football league team that shares the stadium with Club America, played a tournament game on the pitch last Saturday in significantly worse conditions. Coach Pedro Caixinha expressed concern and the NFL continued to work with field guards to improve the field.
The Rams are required to provide the Coliseum for problems with international games. They announced immediate plans for ticket sales as of Wednesday, with holders of season tickets to buy their own seats and up to four more.
The Rams will also award thousands of places to first responders and individuals affected by recent tragedies in Southern California. Deadly forest fires ravaged several areas near the Rams training complex in Thousand Oaks last week, and in Thousand Oaks, 12 people were killed in a mass shooting last week in the US in 2005, when Arizona beat San Francisco. The stadium has hosted several NFL exhibitions, and the Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans and New England Patriots played regular games there for the past two seasons.
The Rams played each in the two previous seasons in England. The Rams and the Chiefs should play for the first time in Mexico next week.
The Rams traveled to Colorado Springs on Monday to spend their practice week at high altitudes to prepare for the conditions in Mexico City. The team currently intends to stay in Colorado Springs before flying home on the weekend.
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