Chelsea Football Club and the National Football League today announced they have forged a partnership in the build-up to the NFL American Football game at Wembley Stadium on October 28.
Chelsea will play a key role around the match between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants, the first competitive NFL game to be played outside North America - including the appointment of England captain John Terry and leading goalscorer Didier Drogba as honorary captains for the Giants.
The two-time Premier League champions will host the Giants at their state-of-the-art training ground in Cobham, Surrey. The Giants, twice winners of the Super Bowl, will stage a full practice and host a media-availability session at the facility after arriving in London on Friday, October 26.
Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said of the partnership: 'It is a great honour for us to be hosting the New York Giants on what is an historic occasion for the NFL and for London. Everybody is looking forward to the game and it is a great testament to the innovative thinking of the NFL and the power of London as a city that the first regular-season game outside the US is being staged here.
'For Chelsea, it also continues our association with the US sports scene at the highest level and we hope to renew our friendship with the Giants when we return to the US and to New York in 2009 for pre-season.'
Club captain Terry said of his appointment: 'I have always been a big fan of American football and it is great to be asked to be honorary captain. When we have toured the US we have often used NFL facilities and our players have met a number of players there and we have always been massively impressed by the athleticism and skill in the game.'
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is already a big fan of the Cobham training ground. He said: 'When our people came back from their advance trip to Chelsea's facilities in early June, they told me, "Coach, you are going to have a tear in your eye when you see the fields at Chelsea's facility. You've only seen practice fields this beautiful in your dreams."'
Alistair Kirkwood, Managing Director of NFL UK, added: 'We are very excited about the support Chelsea Football Club is giving to our event and we look forward to developing our relationship with them. The ground at Cobham is a magnificent facility and I know the Giants players will be very impressed.'
The NFL's London game has proved to be one of the hottest tickets in this year's sports calendar, with requests for more than half a million tickets received within 72 hours of its announcement and all tickets sold inside two hours. In the UK, the game will be live on Sky Sports with highlights on BBC2, while Fox will air the action live in the US.
Peter Kenyon will also be a guest speaker at Sport 2020, the sports business conference that The Economist, in conjunction with the NFL, is staging at The Landmark Hotel on Thursday, October 25. The event will bring together many of the most influential figures in world sport, including several American owners of Premier League teams such as Joel Glazer, of Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Stanley Kroenke, minority shareholder of Arsenal, and George Gillet and Tom Hicks, co-owners of Liverpool.
Pictured are two Giants players displaying their true blue colours, London-born defensive end Osi Umenyiora (left), the Giants' all-time sack leader, and defensive end Michael Strahan.
Last edited by deadringer; 10-08-2007 at 02:57 PM.