— Published 18 October 2023

The NFL opens the door

Things are moving very fast for flag football. Officially added on Monday 16 October to the programme of the Los Angeles 2028 Games as an additional sport, it could well see its first Olympic tournament boosted by the participation of NFL players. Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s executive vice-president in charge of clubs and international events, told the media on Tuesday October 17 that the professional league would welcome the presence of some of its athletes at LA 2028. “There is a real desire to work on a process that would include NFL players at the Games in 2028, he explained. But there’s no question of ruling out the talented flag football specialists who play the sport today at a very high level.” So the door is open, but nothing is done yet, and there are still many steps to be taken before NFL professionals are allowed to push open the door to the Games. The idea must be validated by the American Football Federation, which is in charge of selecting Team USA, accepted by the international body (IFAF), and be the subject of an agreement between the NFL and the players’ association. Above all, the timetable for the Games and the qualifying events must be compatible with the requirements of the NFL clubs. In 2028, the Los Angeles Games are scheduled for July (14 to 30), a period usually devoted by the franchises to pre-season training camps.