Germany could get new franchise

Updated: October 21, 2004, 12:56 PM ET
Associated Press

GLASGOW, Scotland -- The Scottish Claymores NFL Europe franchise has folded due to falling attendance, leaving the league with only one team outside of Germany.

Shutting down the Claymores was the "toughest decision this league has ever had to make," NFL Europe managing director Jim Connelly said Thursday.

The Claymores had been in the league since 1995. The team averaged attendance of 10,800 over 10 seasons, but the numbers have dropped the past three years.

"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," Connelly said. "We believe at this time that such an opportunity exists."

The league said a new franchise will be announced "in the near future." Gelsenkirchen, Germany, has been mentioned as a likely venue.

NFL Europe, which serves as developmental league for the NFL, already has four teams in Germany -- the Frankfurt Galaxy, Berlin Thunder, Rhein Fire and Cologne Centurions. The only non-German franchise is the Amsterdam Admirals.

The league was launched in 1991 as the World League of American Football. The league, which originally featured 10 European and U.S. franchises, shut down after the 1992 season.

The league returned in 1995 with a six-team all-European format and with the NFL as financial backer.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press