Posted December 10, 2013

Olympic football? IOC gives provisional recognition to International Federation of American Football

NFL
The International Federation of American Football currently has 66 countries as its members.  (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The International Federation of American Football currently has 66 countries as its members. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Despite growing concerns over the long-term health effects of playing contact football, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) took a significant step toward global recognition on Tuesday, as Fox Sports senior NFL reporter Alex Marvez tweeted the IFAF has been given “provisional” recognition by the International Olympic Committee.

As Marvez points out, the move increases the chances that a form of American football, such as seven-on-seven, could one day be played at the Olympics; “Rugby sevens,” in which teams play seven-on-seven rather than the usual 15 vs. 15, is set to be featured as a sport in the summer 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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The IFAF’s recognition by the IOC on Tuesday comes approximately six months after the Olympic Committee denied the Federation’s request for recognition. NFL Vice President of International Operations Chris Parsons told Marvez this past May that being recognized by the IOC would help “generate incremental interest” for the sport:

“With IOC recognition, the expectation is that you would end up having more competitions. You would see more and more leagues and that would generate incremental interest … It wouldn’t open the floodgates per se but the argument would be a lot stronger as far as federations applying for local funding.”

The NFL has continued its tradition this season with games in London, a step by the league to do its share in helping to further globalize the sport. Two weeks ago, the NFL announced its 2014 London dates, with three games scheduled to be played in England next year.

Formed in 1998 and with headquarters in France, the IFAF currently has 66 countries as its members. The Federation also serves as the governing body for the Women’s World Cup and the Junior World Cup for players under the age of 19.

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8 comments
maltami39
maltami39

 If you check the Summer Olympics Web site you will find that the name of  "FOOTBALL" already Belong and is Register to another sport since 1896. How are you  going to call your sport? For 97% of planet Earth's population the Sport of Football is play with your feet and a ball. How can we have two sports with the same name?

EdwardJ.Cunningham
EdwardJ.Cunningham

What does the writer mean by "usual" football games are 15 on 15? Like association football or soccer, there are only 11 players on an American football at any given time, and NFL rosters have 45 players. 

JRoc
JRoc

The IOC should not recognize any sport that does not fully comply with WADA testing.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

they'll recognize American football, which is basically played in 2 countries, and Baseball is out?  

trolljaboy
trolljaboy

so it'll be like those nfl street games

EdwardJ.Cunningham
EdwardJ.Cunningham

@PhillyPenn  The reason baseball is out is because MLB wouldn't shut down their season to send players to the Olympics. The Olympics usually take place during NFL training  camp, so like the NBA, this won't be as big of a problem for the NFL.