The Inclusion of Flag Football in Los Angeles 2028 Propels It to Infinity.  © Getty Images

Everything has a beginning, and that of Flag Ball was 25 years ago. Since then, it has done nothing but grow, and its inclusion in the Olympic movement as an Olympic sport in 2028 has been the definitive push for its takeoff

Flag Football is the non-contact form of American football, played by teams of five players, and the President of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), Frenchman Pierre Trochet, recalls in statements to AFP that moment of overcoming, stating that the sport "crashed" when it achieved that Olympic label in just two decades of existence.

Flag Football is the non-contact form of American football, played by teams of five players. © Getty Images
Flag Football is the non-contact form of American football, played by teams of five players. © Getty Images

The President of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), who at 37 is now the youngest head of an Olympic sports federation, warns that Flag Football "has surpassed the entire teenage stage and is now in university."

Those in charge of this new discipline are now exploring new opportunities that should open up now that they have the Olympic sport label to attract sponsors and funding. Now that the International Federation's Congress is taking place, with 74 members in Paris, where the Olympic Games will be held in just seven months, it is time to analyze and assess where this sport is heading.

Trochet recalls his business past and his successes and failures, and precisely from these latter, he learned. In these two decades, he has had time "to manage both business and personal relationships. In recent years, I have been learning from Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner) and Brett Gosper (Head of NFL in Europe and the UK)." Those two major competitions are now the focus of Flag Football, the mirror where it can look to continue growing and attract new business opportunities.

Not only is Flag Football finding a reference there, but also in World Rugby after successfully implementing the entry of Rugby Sevens into the Olympics. That inclusion in the movement is what distinguishes the discipline. It is an unparalleled plus.

Currently, there are around 20 million players, men and women, in 100 countries. "If you light a fire, people will naturally feed off it. This is what is so enjoyable at the moment, there is a good cycle, a good rhythm. It is important not to let any wind blow it out; we have to keep feeding it somehow," insisted Trochet in his attempt to ensure continued growth.

It is evident that for the definitive takeoff, role models are needed for the new generations, as Tony Parker in the NBA or others in different sports. However, as he explains, the city where he grew up, Châteauroux, in central France, was steeped in American culture after World War II. "There was a US Air Force base there," he said. "Châteauroux in the 1950s was immersed in American culture with chewing gum, rock and roll, and hamburgers. My father Jean-Pierre and my grandfather, Pierre... grew up in this environment. American football players were the gladiators of the modern era." That was fundamental for growth and the curiosity of young people. The NFL began to be that competition to emulate and the origin of why Flag Football is becoming increasingly attractive.

The enthusiasm of people like Trochet is what has allowed such a novel and young discipline to be already on the necessary step to strengthen itself. There are more and more players, and also more entrepreneurs are putting their money into the foundations of a more prosperous future. Flag Ball is in the process of overcoming its sporting adolescence and is "already in university," concluded Trochet.

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