NFL: UK franchise remains ‘on track’

NFL spokesman Mark Waller has revealed that the UK is "on track" to have its own American Football franchise within the next six years.

The iconic Wembley Stadium has hosted regular-season NFL games since 2007, with the Jacksonville Jaguars playing one home game a season in London since 2013.

However, the governing body of the sport insists that it "fundamentally believes" that there will be a permanent franchise by 2022.

"The fan base is big enough and passionate enough that it can support a franchise," said Waller.

"I felt in 2007 it was always a 15-year journey. I think we're on track to deliver that. I fundamentally believe we will deliver that."

Each of the three regular-season games at Wembley last year hauled in crowds of more than 80,000 and Jacksonville are contracted to remain in London until 2020.

Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, however, has previously stated that he had no plans to move his team to the capital on a permanent basis

But Waller, who is the NFL's executive vice-chairman international – said a permanent UK franchise would offer American football an advantage over other US sports in expanding its reach beyond the States.

"We are in a unique position as a sport because of the way our season is structured – we only play one game a week,'' he said. "It's not something other American sports could do."

This year, Wembley will host two regular-season outings while the home of English rugby union, Twickenham, will host its first ever NFL clash.

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