International Flag Football

As football continues to grow globally, flag football is opening doors to many who otherwise would not have a chance to play the game.

The International Federation of American Football is the global governing body responsible for growing American football around the world. The IFAF leads the regulation, competition, performance and development of the game. Currently, over 70 nations are IFAF members.     

Flag football competitions are a major part of the IFAF’s efforts, along with other international competitions. The IFAF first held world championships for men’s and women’s flag football in 2002 with tournaments occurring biannually. 

Year 

Men’s Flag World Champions 

Women’s Flag World Champions 

2002 

Austria 

Sweden 

2004 

Austria 

Mexico 

2006 

France 

France 

2008 

Canada 

Mexico 

2010 

United States of America 

Canada 

2012 

Austria 

Mexico 

2014 

United States of America 

Canada 

2016 

United States of America 

Panama 

2018 

United States of America 

United States of America 

2021* 

United States of America 

United States of America 

 *The 2020 IFAF Championships were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

USA Football is the American governing body for both flag and tackle football. USA Football sponsors national teams at youth and adult levels — leading player scouting, training, and development. Learn more about the U.S. National Football Team. 

USA Football is the American governing body for both flag and tackle football. USA Football sponsors national teams at youth and adult levels — leading player scouting, training, and development. Learn more about the U.S. National Football Team. 

In 2020, the NFL, IFAF, and International World Games Association announced that flag football would be added to the 2022 World Games. The 2022 World Games, scheduled for July 7-17 in Birmingham, Alabama, are the first to be held in the U.S. since 1981. 

The flag football competition will feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams from around the world. As the current reigning champions, the U.S. men’s and women’s teams both pre-qualify for the tournament. The remaining teams will be selected through the IFAF qualifying process. 

Teams to Watch in the 2022 World Games: Austria's Men's National Team has three gold medals and beat the U.S. in the 2021 final, while Canada's Women's National Team has two gold medals. 

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

Flag Football at the Olympics 

The NFL supports the IFAF’s bid to add flag football as an Olympic sport starting with the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. 

The International Olympic Committee is responsible for adding or removing sports from Olympic play. The host city’s Olympic committee can ask the IOC for sports to be added to the Olympic schedule in any given year.  

“The NFL is committed to opportunities for athletes from around the world to participate in all levels of football. We support the IFAF’s work to bring flag football to a global stage, starting with the 2022 World Games and leading to the 2028 Summer Olympics,” said Damani Leech, chief operating officer of NFL International.

Growing the Game with NFL FLAG 

NFL FLAG is the largest youth flag football league in the U.S., with over half a million athletes competing in all 50 states. 

Learn more about NFL FLAG leagues in the U.S.  

NFL FLAG helps students across the U.S. become active and learn the game. Since 2014, the NFL FLAG-In-Schools program has distributed more than 24,000 flag football kits to physical education programs across the country, reaching an estimated 1.3 million students.  

Recently, the NFL FLAG-In-School program has expanded to reach international students — providing kits for students in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and China.

Español