Flag football has joined the event program at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, the first time since 1981 that the international multisport event will be held in the United States. The announcement came in partnership with the International World Games Association, the National Football League and International Federation of American Football.

With the announcement, flag football will be one of 32 sports offered during the competition scheduled for July 7–17, 2022. Flag football will be played at historic Legion Field and will feature eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams from around the world. The United States is the current world champion for men’s and women’s and both teams will pre-qualify for the event as a result.

“We are grateful that the NFL recognizes the significance that The World Games 2022 will have as the first major international sporting event in the United States coming out of this global pandemic,” said Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022. “The world is longing to reconnect and Birmingham, Alabama, will play a pivotal role in that reconnection. The NFL’s partnership sends a signal to every company in the world that associating their brand with this special event is important for the world to see.”

The NFL will also become a “Premier Partner” of The World Games 2022 and will serve as the presenting sponsor of flag football during the event. The league will also promote the Games across its international platforms over the next two years.

“Being a part of the sports program in The World Games 2022 formalizes flag football as an international sport, which promotes the values and benefits of the game to fans around the world,” said Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations. “Flag football affords men and women, boys and girls, of all ages, body type and athletic skill the opportunity to enjoy the values, fun and competitive environment that only football offers.”

In its first appearance at The World Games, flag football will join wheelchair rugby, lacrosse and duathlon as the fourth of five invitational sports that the host city gets to select for The World Games 2022. The rest of the official program was recently announced as well.

“The great thing about flag football is that it appeals to every level in the sport,” said IFAF President Richard MacLean. “This dynamic and exciting sport is as accessible to children as it is to adults at a grassroots level and we hope that the elite players taking part at The World Games will be a catalyst for global growth, inspiring a new generation of football participants and talent around the world.”