BERLIN (Reuters) – A decision on which new sports will be included in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics is likely to come in the next few weeks, the head of the International Federation of American Football said on Monday.
Flag football, a non-contact format of American football played by teams of five, is trying along with eight other sports to get onto the 2028 Games programme as one of the events that can be added by the local organisers.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) then needs to ratify that decision when it meets in Mumbai in October.
“We expect a decision (from LA2028 organisers) in the coming weeks,” IFAF President Pierre Trochet said in a call with reporters. “We are focusing on our work but expect a decision in the upcoming weeks.”
The sport faces stiff competition, with cricket seen as one of the favourites given the sport’s wide global reach, its financial strength and broadcast appeal.
Flag football and cricket have been shortlisted along with baseball-softball, lacrosse, breakdancing, karate, kickboxing, squash and motorsport.
Flag football is banking on its support in the United States, growing popularity abroad as well as potential participation of NFL players at the Games to make it to Los Angeles.
“When we first questioned …to see if the players will be released by the NFL to play it was clear that it would interest many players,” Brett Gosper, head of NFL Europe, said.
“That’s an exciting prospect, to see some NFL superstars at the Olympics.”
While their inclusion is only for one edition of the Games, these sports are banking on the boost provided by their Olympic participation to spur growth and remain an attractive Olympic product going into the next four-year cycle.
The LA 2028 organisers can decide on several sports to be included.
Next year’s Paris 2024 Olympics organisers have included four additional sports for their Games with breakdancing, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing – the last three of which also featured as additional events at the Tokyo Games.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Hugh Lawson)