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Due to poor field conditions at Mexico City's Estadio Azteca, Monday night's game between the Chiefs and Rams will be relocated to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the NFL announced Tuesday.
"The decision is based on the determination — in consultation with the NFLPA and following a meeting and field inspection this afternoon by NFL and club field experts as well as local and independent outside experts — that the playing field at Estadio Azteca does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday," the league said in a statement.
The stadium had recently hosted a concert as well as a heavy slate of soccer matches that had caused significant damage to a hybrid surface of both synthetic and natural grass that was installed this year.
"We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game," NFL executive vice president of international Mark Waller 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."
The league said details on reimbursement procedures will be forthcoming for all of the fans who made travel plans to attend the game.
Every time the NFL plays in international stadiums, the league mandates that the home team keep its stadium available as a contingency. Because the Chiefs-Rams game counts as a Los Angeles home contest in its schedule, it was moved there rather than to Kansas City.
This news comes just hours after ESPN reported that several players from both teams were strongly considering sitting out the game because of the field conditions.
The Rams and Chiefs are both 9-1, and concerns about the health and safety of their players could have cast a negative light on the game had the decision been made to keep the game at Estadio Azteca.
"It's not fair to risk our health," a prominent player told ESPN.
The contest will also mark the first time since 1979 that the Rams will play host to a Monday night game in the Coliseum.
Despite the quick turnaround for the Rams to organize the logistics of the game, the team will reward first responders who have been called to action in the past week. Last Wednesday, a gunman opened fire and killed 12 people at a shooting in a bar in Thousand Oaks, just 4 miles from where the Rams train. And throughout the weekend, firefighters have been battling widespread the Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles County.
"The Rams will be providing thousands of complimentary tickets to first responders who are bravely protecting the greater Los Angeles community, as well as people who have been impacted by our community's recent tragedies," the Rams wrote in an article posted on their website.
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