OTTAWA – The effort to get flag football into the Olympic Games has now entered the red zone. Organizers for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics want to add men’s and women’s flag football for their edition of the Games.
The IOC Executive Board will review the proposal and can put it forward for ratification at an IOC session next Monday, according to LA 2028. Recent IOC reforms allow Olympic hosts to propose adding sports solely for their edition of the Games.
“The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is excited by this further step forward in our efforts to bring flag football to the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028,” said IFAF President Pierre Trochet in a statement.
“We thank the LA28 Organizing Committee for the leadership and vision they have shown in choosing to propose flag football. Alongside our committed partners at the National Football League (NFL), and together with our global flag football community, we look forward with optimism to the IOC Session vote,” Trochet said.
Canada has varying degrees of success at the global level in the sport. The men’s team last won a world championship in 2008 while the women’s team last won gold in 2014.
No form of gridiron football has ever been an Olympic medal sport. Football was a demonstration sport at the 1932 LA Olympics. One game was played between college players from Yale, Harvard, and Princeton versus Cal, Stanford, and USC.
The sport took steps toward the Olympics in recent years with the NFL leading the effort for flag football.
The 2022 World Games, an international multi-sport competition with mostly non-Olympic sports, had men’s and women’s flag football tournaments. The U.S. won the men’s event, while Mexico beat the U.S. in the women’s final in Birmingham, Alabama. Canada didn’t attend due to pandemic travel restrictions leading into the world qualifying event in 2021.
At the World Games, teams employed IFAF rules with five players aside on a 50-yard field that’s narrower than Canadian or American tackle rules.
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