Mexico City, Mexico — Due to poor turf conditions, the NFL has moved the scheduled Chief-Rams game from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to the city of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Rams will now take on the Kansas City Chiefs November 19 in Memorial Coliseum after officials say a recent review of the stadium’s turf was deemed unsuitable and not up to NFL standards.
The decision came after the combination of a busy event season and heavy rainfall resulted in what officials called an unsafe turf. In a statement, the league says it consulted with the NFL Players Association as well as club field experts before making the decision to move the game.
After reviews, “it was determined that the field at Estadio Azteca did not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency.”
“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” Mark Waller, NFL executive vice president of international said in a statement. “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. 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.”
In May, Azteca officials changed the playing surface from natural grass to a hybrid, however, extensive use of the turf has left it in poor condition. Since the third week of July, 23 games were played between America and Cruz Azul, with another seven games being played by the women’s professional team from America.
In October, the stadium also hosted two concerts by singer Shakira and another concert from the music channel Telehit at the beginning of November.
“I feel devastated, angered and ashamed, all of that together,” said Mexican former NFL kicker Raul Allegre, who works as an analyst for ESPN Deportes.
“I’m still trying to figure out how small minds were so irresponsible in the preparations for a game of this magnitude. I know that the world does not revolve around the NFL, but this is a great event not only for the sport, but for the country and it is inconceivable how it was taken so lightly.”
A refund policy for the game in Mexico City will be announced by the NFL in the coming days.