Olympics: NFL would support players if flag football reaches Games

Flag football is a non-contact format of American football played by teams of five. PHOTO: UNSPLASH

(REUTERS) - If flag football is successful in its bid to be added to the programme for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, NFL executive vice-president Troy Vincent said on Wednesday (July 13) the league would not deny players from vying for a spot on their national team.

Vincent, speaking after being named a co-chair of the group that will spearhead flag football's efforts toward inclusion at the 2028 Olympics, said there would be no resistance from the NFL if players wanted to try and qualify.

"Absolutely... that's what it's all about; choice, options," former NFL player Vincent told an online briefing from The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, where flag football is making its debut at a global multi-sport event.

"It is the ultimate acknowledgement, it's the ultimate recognition, for any athlete to be an Olympian, to represent their country.

"So yes, we believe that there will be, and you want that open, open competition for the best to compete against the best to represent their flag."

Flag football is a non-contact format of American football played by teams of five where, instead of tackles, the defensive squad can remove a flag from a belt on the ball carrier to stop the play.

Vincent, who described flag football as an all-inclusive sport, was named co-chair of "Vision28" along with International Federation of American Football (IFAF) President Pierre Trochet.

The co-chair announcement was made as eight women's and eight men's flag football teams representing 10 countries from three continents compete at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham.

"We are excited about the growth of flag... the partnership and the growth opportunities," said Vincent.

"What's the ultimate goal? For flag football to be embedded in the Olympic Games, not just LA 2028 but beyond."

According to IFAF, flag football is one of the fastest-growing sports and played by men and women through its programmes in over 100 countries.

The governing body also said flag football is adaptable to a wide range of venues - stadiums, indoor arenas and temporary urban sports parks - making it a flexible and low-cost proposition for multi-sport event organisers.

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