Football Canada: flag football becoming an Olympic sport ‘will be transformative for our game’

Courtesy: Football Canada

Canadians will soon have a chance to compete for Olympic gold on the gridiron.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved the inclusion of flag football in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The decision was made in partnership with the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), the National Football League (NFL), and USA Football following a two-year comprehensive evaluation process.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the IOC, the LA28 committee, IFAF, and our partners at the NFL for paving the way to international gridiron success,” said Football Canada president and IFAF general secretary Jim Mullin in a statement. “With today’s LA ’28 announcement, we anticipate a surge in demand for participation in all aspects of gridiron football across Canada.”

“Thrilled at the addition of flag football to the Olympics!” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie posted on social media. “What a great way to share the ultimate team game with fans around the globe. I can’t wait to see Team Canada compete against the world’s best at LA28!”

Football Canada estimates that 20 million people across more than 100 countries currently play flag football, calling it more accessible than the traditional tackle version of the sport. In 2024, IFAF will host the largest-ever World Flag Football Championships in Lahti, Finland, featuring teams from 65 countries.

“Flag football as an Olympic sport will be transformative for our game, both in Canada and
globally,” said Mullin. “Across our country, participants engage with our sport from a much
younger age through flag football, creating a deeper talent pool for both flag and tackle

“The growth of flag football in Canada has enabled our organization to prioritize gender
equity and female participation. We are committed to establishing the necessary support
systems to promote growth in female coaching, officiating, and leadership for long-term sustainability and international success.”

“Canada has always been at the heart of our sport’s origins. Through the collaboration with stakeholders such as the CFL teams, U Sports, and NFL Canada, we believe we have the foundation to help lead the world into the next chapter of our sport.”

The other new Olympic sports for 2028 are baseball, softball, cricket, lacrosse, and squash.