The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is pleased to confirm that flag football will feature on the programme of the The World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China, having been chosen by local organisers as one of their “additional sports.” The next edition of The World Games is scheduled to be hosted in the Chinese city from August 7 to 17, 2025.

Flag football’s selection follows its highly successful debut at The World Games 2022, where 16 of the world’s top teams showcased their skills in thrilling competition at the iconic Legion Field venue in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

The World Games, which showcases the leading emerging sports disciplines yet to appear on the Olympic Games programme, is governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA). IFAF will be eligible to seek IWGA membership following October’s IOC Session, which is expected to ratify a proposal for full IOC recognition. In the future, this will enable IFAF to propose disciplines for the core sports programme of The World Games.

Chengdu’s choice of flag football, under the additional sports framework, reflects the discipline’s rapid growth, particularly in China, where more than 300,000 children already participate in schools’ programmes. Overall, more than 20 million people are currently playing flag football in more than 100 countries, spanning every continent.

Precise dates of the competition programme for flag football in Chengdu have yet to be confirmed, but local organisers have chosen to prioritise the women’s tournament in a context where women and girls are driving the fastest growth in flag football participation. The inclusive, non-contact format has been hailed as an important accelerator of gender equality in American football. Women’s representation in IFAF-governed flag football tournaments increased by 62% in the five years to 2021. In the USA, half a million girls aged 3-17 are currently playing organised flag football and Girls’ Flag Football is already a sanctioned High School varsity sport in seven American states, with many more set to follow.

IFAF is committed to growing the presence of both men’s and women’s flag football in major Games and multi-sport events, to which the format’s short games and flexible venue model are highly adapted. Flag football is notably among nine additional sports shortlisted for potential inclusion in the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028.

Welcoming the announcement, IFAF President Pierre Trochet said: “On behalf of IFAF, I would like to thank the Chengdu 2025 Organising Committee for their vision and partnership in bringing flag football to The World Games programme for a second successive edition, building on our landmark multi-sport debut in Birmingham last year. This is undoubtedly excellent news for our athletes, as well as the very fast-growing flag football community in China. The World Games 2025 will complement our expanded framework of continental and global IFAF competition in flag football as we look to increase opportunity for our elite athletes and build a sustainable qualifying pathway for future global Games.”

Guillaume Felli, IWGA Deputy CEO, said: “The Flag Football tournament held at the legendary Legions Field Stadium in Birmingham during The World Games 2022 was one of the highlights of the Games. And it was a debut; this discipline was part of The World Games programme for the first time. We are now looking forward to its next appearance in Chengdu in 2025. The support of the Federation as well as the NFL has helped to promote The World Games, and moreover to give this fascinating sport a widely respected stage. We expect nothing less for the Games in China, and look forward to seeing the women’s top teams play for The World Games gold again.”

Media Contacts
Follow us on: