American football at the Olympics but without the dangerous tackles and collisions? It looks like Los Angeles will get the scoop on soccer in 2028, a different version of the most popular sport in the United States. Two teams of five, same oval ball and rules. However, the attacking party receives two stripes on his belt. Taking the tape replaces the treatment. New Olympic spectacle?
Flag football is one of five sports that the IOC wants to add to the Summer Games program in 2028. At the 141st Congress, which began this weekend in Mumbai, India, nearly a hundred members of the IOC will decide on a proposal from the Governing Council to establish the Games Olympics for cricket, baseball/softball, lacrosse and squash as well as soccer in 2028.
“These proposals have been accepted by the Board as a complete package,” IOC President Thomas Bach said at a press conference after a pre-conference board meeting. The purpose of the additions to the program, according to Bach, is to showcase “popular American sports to the world while at the same time bringing world-class sports to the United States.”
Los Angeles 2028 only
The proposal to add the five sports to the Olympic program comes from the Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee. “We want to bring new athletes to the Games, engage new fan bases and increase the digital visibility of the Games,” said Casey Wasserman, Chairman of the Board of Directors. Los Angeles 2028 in the lead-up to the IOC conference on the website Inside games. The addition of the five sports only applies to the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
Cricket, which makes its Olympic debut in Paris in 1900, represents the most financial value to the IOC of the five sports added to the Games. According to the Associated Press news agency, nearly $100 million (about 95 million euros) will be allocated in the sale of television rights to India, where cricket is the most popular sport.
“For the Olympic movement, this is an opportunity to connect with a community of fans and athletes that we have had little or no access to until now,” Bach said in India, where the Cricket World Cup is currently being held.
At the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games, cricket will be played by six teams each for men and women, in a shorter Twenty20 format. The US teams have been seeded automatically, meaning not all of cricket’s traditional powers can qualify – even India is not guaranteed Olympic participation.
Other team sports added also include six-nation competition for women and men. Baseball (men) and softball (women) were previously Olympic events, both of which were also on the Tokyo 2020 program but were canceled for Paris 2024.
Lacrosse, which is particularly popular in Canada and the United States, officially became an Olympic sport in St. Louis 1904 and London 1908. In 2028, a “sixes system,” six against six, will be played. “We look forward to the opportunity to showcase lacrosse on the highest platform of international sport and inspire generations to come,” the International World Lacrosse Association said.
Squash will make its first appearance at the Games after previous failed attempts in 2012, 2016, 2020 and 2024, as will relatively unknown football. Bach praised the type of American football that, he said, was becoming increasingly popular around the world, “especially among girls and women.” “Soccer also avoids the injury challenges that American football faces.”
The IOC Board confirmed that in addition to the five additional sports, the previously discussed weightlifting and modern pentathlon will remain part of the programme. However, in the modern pentathlon, the equestrian element is replaced by obstacle racing.
Boxing also remains part of the Games, although the International Olympic Committee banned the IBA earlier this year because it refuses to implement reforms in the areas of integrity and finance. “We have no problem with boxing,” Bach said in Mumbai. “We also have no problems with boxers. We have a big problem with sports management.”
Adding five sports in 2028 and retaining the others would exceed the current limit of 10,500 athletes in Los Angeles. According to Reuters news agency, the International Olympic Committee will consider setting a new limit on the number of participants in 2025.
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