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NFL: could flag football become an Olympic sport?

Football’s only precedent in the summer competition was when it was included as a demonstration sport at the 1932 Olympic Games.

Jan 17, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; A general overall view of SoFi Stadium during the playing of the national anthem with a United States flag on the field during a NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals. Mandatory Credit:
Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports

The National Football League wants to expand football across the board and one of the plans is to have flag football included as an Olympic sport, another step in the league’s internationalisation.

Flag football proposed for the Olympic Games

Damani Leech, the NFL International’s Chief Operating Officer, said in an interview with CNBC that the NFL is interested in flag football becoming an Olympic sport for the 2028 edition, which is to be held in Los Angeles, California.

“Over the next five years, we want to expand NFL flag football,” Leech said. “That’s our big number that we’re focused on.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has multiple requirements for flag football to become an Olympic sport and one of them is that more countries play the game.

Birmingham World Games as international showcase

The CEO believes the World Games 2022, which will be held in Birmingham, Alabama from 7-17 July this year, will provide an international showcase to demonstrate to the IOC that the addition of flag football could work.

It will be a good opportunity to show the IOC what the sport looks like. That it’s competitive and attractive,” Leech said.

The men’s football category at the 2022 World Games will feature teams from the USA, Mexico, Panama, Italy, France, Austria, Denmark and Germany. In the women’s category, the Americans, Mexicans, Panamanians, Austrians, French and Italians will also be there, along with the Japanese and Brazilians.

Football’s only previous appearance in the summer competition was when it was included as a demonstration sport at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.


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