PARIS, JAN. 23 -- The World League of American Football, scheduled to kick off in March, "will play this year no matter what the situation" in the Gulf, Europe or the United States, according to a league official.
But the league was setting up contingency plans in the event that additional safety concerns arise, said Joe Bailey, the WLAF's chief operating officer, by telephone from New York. He would not specify what those plans were, or whether they involved moving games out of European stadiums.
The 10-team league has clubs in the United States, London, Barcelona, Frankfurt and Montreal.
"We can wait a long time," Bailey said. "We wouldn't have to make any decisions until March."
Bailey said the league has already opened offices in its three European cities, with as many as a half-dozen people working in each office. The league has sent notices to each of those offices stressing safety but not mandating a specific course of action, he said.
"In one sense, we've left it up to the individual operations," he said. "No one has felt threatened."
The office of the WLAF's Frankfurt Galaxy opened last week. The team's general manager, Oliver Luck, said that office personnel there have joked, "Who knows where we are anyway?"
But in general, Luck said, security is taken seriously.
"It's hard not to drive down the street here and not be aware of an increased military and police presence," he said.
Luck said he has attended a briefing at the U.S. consulate general's office on safety concerns for American interests operating in Germany. In addition, the staff of the Galaxy office is "using common sense" and keeping a fairly low profile.
The office is mainly concerned with setting up operations for the team and the stadium in which the league's first game is to be played the night of March 23 between the Galaxy and the London Monarchs.
Luck said he had already spoken to stadium personnel about security.
"The league is making the contingency plans," Luck said. "We tell our people to just go ahead and assume we are going to play."
About 750 players have already been chosen, through a series of tryout camps in Europe and the United States. They will be assigned to teams in a draft to be conducted in Orlando next month, and are expected to begin arriving in Europe about March 7.
"So far, things have been very quiet," said Luck, an American who studied in Germany and has a wife and child with him in Frankfurt. "You wonder if it's too quiet."