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21.10.2004 EFAF

NFLEL discontinues operations of the Scottish Claymores

The Scottish Claymores will not be part of the 2005 NFL Europe season.

The NFL Europe League has discontinued operations of the Scottish Claymores, NFL Europe Managing Director Jim Connelly announced today.

“This is the toughest decision this league has ever had to make,” said Connelly. “The Claymores have achieved considerable success over the past decade and for any sports team to average close to 11,000 fans per game in this market is commendable.

“But the economics of our league and the interest shown by other cities have forced us to look at whether there are other markets that give us a greater opportunity of improving our business. We believe at this time that such an opportunity exists.”

The Claymores have been part of the NFLEL since 1995, posting an average attendance of 10,799 during their 10 seasons. They achieved a franchise-record average attendance of 13,904 in 2001, but have seen crowds fall for the past three seasons.

The NFLEL will announce details of a new franchise in the near future.

Connelly praised the work of Claymores general manager Steve Livingstone and his staff. “We have nothing but admiration for the job that the Claymores front office has done. As well as introducing new fans to the sport, they have developed important relationships and established a base for the game at the grassroots level that we hope to maintain and build upon in the future.

“We are aware of the deep disappointment that will be felt by the many Claymores fans and thank them for the loyal support they have given to the team. We also thank all the coaches, players and staff who have contributed to the franchise over the years.”

Connelly explained that the NFL will retain a football development team in Scotland to continue the grassroots programmes that the Claymores have successfully introduced in local schools and will continue to identify and develop young Scottish talent as part of NFL Europe's National Player Development Programme.

The Claymores were established in 1995 playing their home matches at Murrayfield Stadium. Under head coach JIM CRINER, the club won the World Bowl in just their second season defeating Frankfurt Galaxy in front of 38,982 fans at Murrayfield in June, 1996.

The Claymores returned to World Bowl in 2000, but lost out to Rhein Fire in the Waldstadion in Frankfurt. The club fully moved their home matches to Glasgow and Hampden Park in 2001. In 2003, the Claymores hosted World Bowl XI with 28,138 fans attending despite the fact that the Claymores narrowly missing out on appearing in the final themselves. The event generated over £4m for the City of Glasgow and was broadcast to over 100m around the world.

Steve Livingstone, said: "I am desperately disappointed that the League has taken the decision to suspend our operations. I am devastated for all of our fans, supporters and our staff who have all worked so hard during the last 10 seasons to make the Claymores the success we have been.

"We do not believe that the Claymores have failed. Despite indifferent seasons on the field, during the last four seasons, we have grown our business in Glasgow off the field, increasing our season ticket holders, support and sponsorship for the club while at the same time developing strong partnerships in the community and with the City of Glasgow.

"We recently hosted a very successful World Bowl and our schools development in local authorities across Scotland had been a model programme and has been growing at a phenomenal rate, generating a whole new generation of fans for the NFL. It is somewhat ironic that the successes of the Claymores in Scotland are now being used as a blueprint across the League."

Livingstone, added: " I feel it is regrettable that the League has taken the steps they have taken in order to develop a new team in Germany - they have called it as they see it and want to move in another direction with the League. We wish the League the best of luck in the future.

"Everyone associated with the Claymores is proud of the considerable successes that we have achieved here in Scotland during the past ten seasons - outside of the Old Firm, we were one of the best supported teams in the country. Everyone in our front office is proud to have been associated with our organisation and will continue to keep the Claymores spirit alive in our future endeavours and leave with our heads held high."

Scource: www.nfleurope.com

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