Flag football has been added to The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama — the first edition of The World Games to be held in America since 1981. In partnership with the International World Games Association, NFL and International Federation of American Football, The World Games announced that the sport will join the existing lineup of 32 multi-disciplinary sports.

Hosted at Birmingham’s historic Legion Field, Flag Football at The World Games 2022 Presented by the NFL will feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams from around the world. As the current reigning champions, the United States men’s and women’s teams both pre-qualify for the tournament. The remaining teams will be selected through the IFAF qualifying process.

“We are grateful that the NFL recognizes the significance The World Games 2022 will have as the first major international sporting event in the U.S. 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 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.”

As a premier partner of The World Games 2022, the NFL will serve as the presenting sponsor of flag football and will 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 types, and athletic skills the opportunity to enjoy the values, fun and competitive environment that only football offers.”

“We are excited for flag football to join the official lineup of The World Games in 2022, a competitive stage for football players from around the globe to showcase their skills,” said Damani Leech, chief operating officer of NFL international. “The NFL is committed to opportunities for athletes from around the world to participate in all levels of football and has been supportive of IFAF’s work to bring flag football to The World Games, a great step forward in their long-term Olympic pursuits. We will be closely following the qualifying events which determine the top men’s and women’s flag football teams to compete in Birmingham.”

In its first appearance as a World Games sport, flag football joins wheelchair rugby, lacrosse and duathlon as the fourth invitational sport added to The World Games 2022. In addition to the sports selected by the IWGA, Birmingham as the host city has the opportunity to select up to five invitational sports to include in its sports program.

The World Games 2022 Birmingham will take place from July 7-17, 2022.