NFL: Super Bowl LVI won't be moved to Dallas amid California Covid surge
NFL officials and Super Bowl LVI organisers claim the showpiece event will not be moved, despite a covid-19 surge in California.
Next month's Super Bowl will not be moved away from the Los Angeles area despite an increase in covid-19 cases across California, the NFL has insisted.
The SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, home to both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, is set to host Super Bowl LVI on 13 February, 56 years after Los Angeles staged the first edition of the NFL's annual championship game.
A surge in Covid-19 cases across the state, and the prospect of the introduction of further health measures in response, had fuelled speculation that the Super Bowl could be moved to the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium, which had reportedly been explored as a back-up site by the NFL.
However, at a media event held at the stadium exactly a month before the conclusion of the NFL season, both the NFL and the Super Bowl's organisers were quick to quell fears that such a move was in the offing.
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NFL: "All of our plans for Super Bowl week remain fully in place"
"All of our plans for Super Bowl week remain fully in place for a month from today," said the NFL's senior director of event operations Katie Keenan.
"We're working along with everyone here, and with the L.A. County Health Department, to make sure all of our events are being held safely."
Many California universities have responded to increases in the state's Covid-19 cases, which reached record levels last week, by limiting fan attendance at sporting events this month, although both the Rams and the Chargers have continued to welcome full houses throughout January.
The Rams' chief operating officer Kevin Demoff spoke at the same event, and defended the protocols in place at the stadium.
"I don't think anybody has ever wavered on being able to play this game here, and play it safely," Demoff stated.
"We've had an amazing, safe environment all year, and we are fortunate this is an outdoor facility where the air gets in.
"We feel this building is very safe. People who come to our games have learned to be safe, and we are doing everything we can to be safe."
The Rams could yet feature in Super Bowl LVI at their own stadium, having finished the regular season with a 12-5 record to reach the playoffs as the NFC's fourth-seed. They will host the Arizona Cardinals at the SoFi Stadium when the NFL's post-season schedule gets underway over the coming days.