The National Football League announced yesterday that it expects to hold Sunday's Super Bowl between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants as scheduled, but as was the case before last week's conference championship games it will be monitoring events in the Persian Gulf War "up to kickoff."

However, the league also announced that because of the war it has canceled its Friday night party that annually highlights the extravaganza leading up to the game.

"In light of the war in the Middle East, we plan this week to emphasize the game itself . . . while moderating league-sponsored social events," NFL Vice President of Communications Joe Browne said in a statement. "We recognize that the American people will not be paralyzed by the events in the Middle East. But the words 'priorities' and 'perspective' are important during Super Bowl XXV activities."

Browne's statement also said the NFL will continue to review league-sponsored events in Tampa. But Jim Steeg, the NFL's executive director for special events, said last night there has been no been no discussion concerning game-day activities like the pregame festivities and halftime show.

The league party is an invitation-only event for 3,000 to 4,000 people from the media, NFL clubs, league sponsors and the television network broadcasting the game. According to a league source, it costs the NFL at least $750,000, and has been held at such locations as aboard the Queen Mary, in the Astrodome, and at a new international terminal at Miami International Airport. This year, it was set for the Tampa Convention Center.

The decision to cancel the party was based on Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's feelings "after conversations with owners and others," Steeg said. "It was something he had been thinking about for a week."

Walter Baldwin, chairman of Tampa's Super Bowl Task Force, said he had not received word from Steeg to "tone down" any of the pregame events being sponsored by the city or others. Steeg said last night that decisions concerning nonleague events were "individual" ones.

Jim Jones, president of Regency Productions, the company coordinating a game-day hospitality tent village adjacent to Tampa Stadium, said none of the 42 companies sponsoring tents had withdrawn.

From Wednesday to Saturday, there will be about 50 events related to the Super Bowl, including a Saturday parade and a Saturday night festival in downtown Tampa. Jim Clark, executive director of the Tampa-Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Association, said last week the festival is expected to attract at least 500,000 people.

Baldwin said Saturday that his group probably would make no alterations in its schedule until it heard that Tagliabue wanted events to "quiet down."

Of the league's decision to cancel its party, Baldwin said yesterday: "Maybe {Tagliabue} wants to do that just as the commissioner. As a committee, we wouldn't want to call off {Saturday's parade and festival}. As long as the game is going on, that will dictate what we're going to do."

ABC Sports spokesman Mark Mandel said if the NFL is going to play the game, the network will plan on broadcasting it.

"We will do what is appropriate," Mandel said. "If the news division wants time, they will get it. . . . If events warrant, we will cut away. It is our role to make these decisions. We've done it before."

Steeg said NFL and ABC officials met for two hours yesterday, and Mandel said they would be in daily contact about such issues as delaying play if the network needs to extend a natural break in the game.

During Sunday's NFC championship game, the NFL agreed to hold up play for an extra minute during a change in possession because the network had gone to a report from Saudi Arabia. As a result, CBS missed no action during that interruption. But because of a subsequent interruption, CBS missed a play.

While broadcasting the AFC championship game, NBC missed a touchdown, an interception and a field goal because of cutaways. NBC's offices in New York received a number of phone calls from viewers complaining about interruptions in coverage of the game. Neilsen overnight television ratings seemed to indicate that that war had no effect on viewership for either of Sunday's games.

In other developments, the first-round Davis Cup tennis match between Israel and France scheduled for Feb. 1-3 in Marseille, France, has been postponed, International Tennis Federation spokeswoman Ann Page said. The match probably will be played at the end of March.

Page added it is "likely" other first-round matches will be postponed, but the ITF was delaying any further official announcements until today because it has not heard from the national governing bodies in each of the host countries. The United States is planning to go ahead with its match against Mexico, Feb. 1-3 in Mexico City, said U.S. Tennis Association communications director Ed Fabricius.

U.S. Skiing officials continued to debate whether to send athletes back overseas to compete in the World Alpine Championships, which begin today in Austria. The United States still has not officially withdrawn from the biennial championships, which will involve competition in one event per day from now until Feb. 3, but "as we get further and further along, it gets less practical to go there," said U.S. Skiing spokesman Tom Kelly.

"Nobody's happy about it," Kelly added. "But nobody's been at the door with their skis, saying, 'Let's go, let's go.' "