It is a non-contact sport to which the NFL is looking to give space in the next Games in Los Angeles in 2028.
Anything is possible in the sports concert in which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has its interests. Without this sounding pejorative but quite the contrary, for the IOC the Olympic movement must renew itself and open the game to new sports to renew itself inside and outside its boundaries. In line with this stance, the National Football League (NFL) has a clear purpose: to elevate flag football as an Olympic sport for the year 2028.
Flag football is a form of American soccer without tackles and in which instead of throwing the opponent to the ground, the defending team must remove one of the two flags or handkerchiefs that hang on the sides of each player’s waist.
In this way, the NFL has set to work so that flag football will have its Olympic debut in Los Angeles in 2028. According to them, the contribution of this form of American soccer would add more viewers and thus more investors for the IOC.
In an interview with the CNBC news network, Leech said that participating in the Olympic Games will be vital for the expansion of American soccer worldwide. “We have to improve the game. If flag football becomes an Olympic sport, more countries will invest in it,” Leech said. The NFL wants to expand its reach through flag football to grow the international business to $1 billion annually over the next 10 years. That’s why the inclusion of flag football as an Olympic sport is strategic for the NFL, as it could accelerate the process of bringing more money into its coffers.
Perhaps driven by what happened with rugby sevens, which became Olympic since the Rio 2016 Games, for the NFL to open this Olympic path is, for them, to return their sport to a place it had in the Los Angeles 1932 Games when it was part of that event in promotional mode. For Atlanta 1996, the NFL submitted an official petition to the IOC requesting the inclusion of American soccer, but the organization rejected it because it considered the sport to be extremely physically demanding and “dangerous” contact between its competitors.
The decision, yes or no, will not be known until next December when the IOC will hold a meeting to decide whether flag football will be an Olympic sport.