After successfully partnering with the International Federation of American Football to bring flag football to next week’s World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, the NFL is now pushing to get the sport included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games, according to the Associated Press.
“NFL Flag is among the fastest-growing sports in America and around the world for boys and girls, men and women,” NFL chief operating officer of international Damani Leech told the AP. “We are excited for the debut of flag football in the World Games this summer and remain supportive of IFAF’s work to bring flag football to the Olympic stage, two global events that will inspire the next generation of athletes from around the world.”
The IFAF and the NFL hope that introducing flag football to the world will bring more participation and a broader understanding of the sport. Internationally, football is widely known for its physicality, but flag football could help make the sport more approachable to everybody.
“Someone sitting in France and watching `football,′ that is the NFL,” CEO of USA Football Scott Hallenbeck told the AP. “You see the type of game and physical nature of men in this case, and that is what you understand. All of a sudden we introduce this idea of flag football, and you see `I don’t need to be 6-4, 300 pounds, a 4.2 speedster,′ but can be an everyday human.”
Introducing the sport to the Olympics will surely help give it some international attention, but it won’t be easy as both baseball and softball are expected to return to the Olympics in 2028 with other sports like lacrosse and cricket also expected to apply. But regardless, the IFAF has plans to continue growing the sport across the world.
“It is important, with the Olympics as an ultimate goal,” says Pierre Trochet, IFAF’s president, “but we also have a task in growing and having a solid competition plan over the next five, six, seven years on every continent.”