Next week’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams originally scheduled for Mexico City will now be held in California due to unsafe field conditions at the Estadio Azteca, the National Football League said on Tuesday.
After consultation with the NFL Players Association and an inspection by field experts it was determined that the Azteca surface did not meet NFL standards.
Monday’s game, which will now be played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home of the Rams, was originally announced in April as part of the NFL’s increased commitment to growing the game beyond the borders of the United States.
But as photographs of the current field conditions recently appeared on social media a number of players from the teams, who each lead their respective divisions with 9-1 records, said they were strongly considering not playing in the game.
The NFL did not have any major concerns with the field until recently but said a number of events at the venue had taken a toll on the playing surface and that its standards would not be met in time.
“Until very recently, we had no major concerns,” NFL Executive Vice President of International Mark Waller said in a statement.
“But the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game.
“As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision, and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”
Kansas City and Los Angeles boast the NFL’s two highest-scoring offenses, respectively led by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Rams counterpart Jared Goff.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris