The NFL’s investment in flag football is going international. The league has been investing in the tackle-free version in the sport for several years now — an understandable decision, given that flag football’s popularity for kids has been increasing over time. Now that flag football will officially be part of the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles — with some NFL stars already making their interest in participating clear — it isn’t hard to see the sport’s profile getting even higher.
All of that helps to explain why the NFL announced this week that it is partnering with the Fédération Française de Football Américain to launch a youth flag football program in France. The collaboration will kick off with a tournament slated for November 25, the NFL Flag France National Championship, which will be held in Paris. The tournament will feature a dozen teams from across the country.
“As one of the most accessible sports in the world, we’re thrilled to work with FFFA to offer young athletes the opportunity to play the game — especially here in Paris, on a global stage,” said Afia Law of NFL Flag International in a statement. “We’re looking forward to welcoming the winning team to the Pro Bowl Games in the U.S. in February.”
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Between the growing popularity of flag football and the NFL’s growing ambitions in Europe, it isn’t hard to see why the NFL might want to solidify its presence outside of the United States. (That said, it does beg the question of whether the “National” part of “National Football League” might require revision at some point.)
The teams competing in the NFL Flag France National Championship will be co-ed and will feature players under the age of 12. The site of the tournament is Paris’s Jean Bouin Stadium, which is also the home of rugby union team Stade Français Paris, as well as FC Versailles 78, who play the other kind of football. If this event is a success, it’ll be interesting to see if the NFL launches more tournaments of this type in the future.