Finland will host the Largest-Ever Flag Football Tournament next August
Over 30 countries have already confirmed their participation in the IFAF Flag Football World Championships scheduled for August 2024 in Lahti. The tournament will be the largest flag football competition event of all time.
In October, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the inclusion of five new ball sports in the program for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Flag Football was among the chosen disciplines, marking a historic moment for Finland as the nation is set to host the first-ever World Championships for a team ball sport featured in the Summer Olympics.
The Olympic status has energized national Flag Football associations worldwide, with teams from over 30 countries registering for the Lahti World Championships. In line with the sport’s culture, both men’s and women’s championships will be decided in the same tournament, bringing the total number of teams close to sixty. Risto Luostarinen, Chairman of the organizing committee, is pleased with the significant international attention the event has garnered:
-At this point, we anticipate nearly a thousand athletes and officials to gather in Lahti, with teams from as far as New Zealand. The convergence of men’s and women’s championships in a single event aligns with the Flag Football tradition, and with the active involvement of the Pajulahti Olympic Training Center, we are confident that this major event will run smoothly in the Finnish way.
Flag Football unites the world next August
Roope Noronen, Chairman of the Finnish American Football Association (SAJL) and responsible for international competition at the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), anticipates record participation in the World Championships:
-The Lahti World Championships are poised to be the largest competition in the history of the sport. The rapid growth of the international federation and the cultural significance of Flag Football, where major tournaments are the primary form of competition, will attract teams from nearly every corner of the world to Finland. We believe that the Finnish event will become a fantastic global meeting point for the Flag Football community, simultaneously kickstarting the journey towards Los Angeles 2028.
-However, our home event is likely to be remembered as one of the largest in terms of participation, as the format of future major tournaments will be reevaluated due to the sport’s growth. Until now, participation in previous continental championships has been a criterion for entry.
The Flag Football World Championships will take place in Lahti from August 27 to 30, 2024. The group stage matches will be held at the Pajulahti Olympic Training Center, and the finals will be played at the Lahti Stadium on Friday, August 30.
- Risto Luostarinen, LOC Chairman, +358 400 677 023
- Roope Noronen, SAJL Chairman, + 358 400 634 968
Photo credit: IFAF Wes Lorenz