American football at the Los Angeles 2028 Games? The project is in the air. According to Reuters, the powerful American professional league, the NFL, unreservedly supports a candidacy of “flag football” as an additional sport for the Summer Games in 2028. A very light version of US football, played without contact by teams of 5 players, the discipline is on the program for the next edition of the World Games, scheduled for 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama. But the NFL wants more and is now eyeing LA 2028. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) will officially present its project to the IOC. But, behind the scenes, the lobbying is carried out by the NFL. Its director of operations at NFL International, Damani Leech, told Reuters: “We very clearly support IFAF and USA Football in their efforts to make flag football an Olympic sport. IFAF will lead the project. But we want to help them, especially in terms of influence, strategy and mobilisation”. The IFAF currently has 72 member countries, more than two-thirds of which have national leagues. The United States dominates the world rankings in all categories, but the top 10 includes countries like Japan, India and Brazil. Comment from Richard Maclean, IFAF President: “The problem for us with this Olympic project is the budget and how to get our message across”. Either way, the NFL could come into play. Its foundation recently allocated $1.5 million to its Flag-In-Schools program. Intended to develop the practice of “flag football” at school level, it has reached 13 million students since its launch in 2014.
— Published 29 April 2021