Why Was Flag Football Added To The Olympics? It’s The Future, Says LA28 Sports Director

Five sports have been added to the Olympic program for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles, and the one that seems to have raised the most eyebrows is flag football.

The sport, although not contested on the big stage to the extent of full-contact football in the National Football League (NFL), opens the door for mass participation in the game without the same risk of serious injury.

“Flag Football is the future, and the tip of the spear for American Football’s international growth, with approximately 20 million flexible players across over 100 countries with gender balance in participation,” LA28 Sports Director Niccolo Campriani said during the IOC session officially announcing the five new sports.

“Lastly, the inclusion of flag football opens the door to a game-changing partnership with the NFL, the world’s largest professional league. NFL commitment in this journey is total – not a one-and-done – reflecting its long-term determination to collaborate with the International Federation of American Football and the Olympic Movement in the interest of sports worldwide.”

The decision to add flag football to the Olympics comes after the NFL and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) partnered to form Vision28, a joint venture with the goal of continuing to grow the game globally.

In a press release published shortly after the announcement, the NFL describes flag football as “a short, fast, non-contact and gender-equal format, renowned as the most accessible and inclusive version of American football” and says that it’s “spearheading exceptional worldwide participation growth in American football, especially among women and girls.”

The NFL is not only open, but encouraging active players to participate in the Games in less than five years’ time, which would certainly make flag football one of the most-viewed sports in LA.

Along with flag football, squash will be making its Olympic debut at the 2028 Games, while lacrosse, cricket, and baseball/softball were also added after appearing in previous editions.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach noted that the new sports will put “iconic” American sports on display for the world.

“The choice of these five new sports is in line with the American sports culture and will showcase iconic American sports to the world, while bringing international sports to the United States. These sports will make the Olympic Games LA28 unique,” Bach said in a statement.

“Their inclusion will allow the Olympic Movement to engage with new athlete and fan communities in the US and globally.”

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) has 74 member nations, and the 2021 Flag Football World Championships, even amid a global pandemic, had 42 participating nations.

The US has won 5 out of the 10 World Championships in men’s flag football, with Austria (3), Canada (1), and France (1) sharing the rest. Mexico leads the women’s field with 3 World Championships, followed by the US (2), Canada (2), France (1), Panama (1), and Sweden (1).

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6 months ago

Flag football and we are still waiting for the 50 fly, 50 back 50 br

6 months ago

Should have been dodgeball. The American Dodgeball Association of America should have been involved in the process.

6 months ago

Flag football?! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! The IOC is a joke and has turned the Olympics into a joke. There is literally nothing that involves human movement that those clowns wouldn’t accept as an Olympic event. Apparently, the idea is to broaden TV viewership by putting everything in the games. Let’s remember that BMX bike racing, skateboarding and break dancing are now Olympic events. Frisbee golf soon will be. The first time I saw a BMX bike race at the Olympics–I think 8 years ago, I laughed: it looked liked a kiddee event one would see at a state fair. We can be sure that jump roping, hop scotch and pick-up sticks will soon be Olympic events. I… Read more »

Reply to  kazoo
6 months ago

Gatekeep much?

6 months ago

Flag football in 2028 Olympic Games?
Neo should taken a blue pill.

Spieker Pool Lap Swimmer
6 months ago

They said Dippin’ Dots were the future so I’m skeptical.

Swimmin in the South
6 months ago

What about break dancing? Saw the team “working out” recently in the Springs. Wasn’t impressed.


Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

How can anybody not see this? The rest of the world doesn’t even know there is a backyard version of American football. This is destined to be a huge hit, once it’s obvious as a fun activity with very few equipment requirements and impromptu playing fields of any surface or dimension

Paul Revere
6 months ago

This is the dumbest add ever. Corn Hole makes more sense than flag football, and they didn’t add it. I wonder how much teh NFL had to pay the IOC and the LA 28 Organizing Committe for this add. Football is ruining Olympic Sports in NCAA Diviion I. It is all about the money. Sad that the Olympics seemingly is headed this way as well.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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