Buccaneers and Bears to Play October Game in London

The announcement was made one day ahead of the unveiling of the full 2011 schedule and despite an uncertain labour dispute that threatens the season.

“Should the current labour situation be unresolved by August 1, the game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa,” the NFL said in a statement.

The game will mark Tampa Bay’s third visit to London in three years, having lost to the in 2009, while Chicago played a pre-season game at Wembley in 1986 as the league worked to expand interest in the sport.

“We hope by staging another extraordinary game at Wembley that we can continue to grow our existing fan base and attract even more new fans,” NFL Commissioner said in a statement.

Talks on a new collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and players broke down on March 11. The players union then decertified and the players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league and its owners.

The owners responded by locking out the players.

A federal judge earlier this month ordered the two sides to hold mediation talks in Minnesota. Those talks, which began last week, are scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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