Great news for British fans of the NFL! The lockout of players by team owners that threatened the entire season was finally resolved at about 6pm on Monday evening UK time when it was announced that the players' union had ratified the new, ten year Collective Bargaining Agreement, approved by an almost unanimous majority of teams five days ago.
Through the spring and summer stalemate players have been keeping fit on their own, away from official facilities, while the teams couldn't trade players or finalise any budgets, but today's events trigger a headlong rush to get everything in place for the first match of the season in just over six weeks' time. London's turn comes on Sunday October 23rd when the Chicago Bears, firm favourites with UK fans thanks to their exploits of the mid-80s when the NFL first caught on here, "visit" the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will be the first team to play at the new Wembley Stadium twice having lost to the New England Patriots in 2009.
Although the fixture was tentatively announced back in April, tickets could not be sold because no commercial agreement was in place for any NFL games at all to be played. Now you can expect seats to be available within days, so if you don't want to miss Barack Obama's home town team take on the club owned by Manchester United's very own Glazer family, get over to NFL UK and register your interest.