The eyes of the flag football world will be on Finland as it hosts the next edition of the IFAF Flag Football World Championship in 2024.
With teams from all over the world descending on Lahti Finland, it promises to be a truly international affair.
Hosted by the International Federation of American Football, the tournament has been held every two years since 2002. It features both men’s and women’s competitions.
The event is set for August 25-30, 2024 at the Pajulahti Olympic and Paralympic Training Centre.
A Brief History of the Flag Football World Championship
The world tournament will be the 12th time the Flag Football World Championship has been held for men’s and women’s teams.
The United States men will be looking for their sixth gold medal and seventh total medal in Finland. Austria, with three golds and four total medals, is the only other country to win the men’s title more than once.
France and Canada have won the gold medal once each. Denmark has four silvers and is tied with the USA with six total medals.
On the women’s side, Mexico has won three golds. The U.S. and Canada have won one each, with France, Panama, and Sweden taking home one title. Mexico and the U.S. are tied with five medals total.
USA is the reigning champion for both the men and women. Both sides defeated Mexico during the 2021 games in Israel. The 2020 games in Denmark were canceled due to COVID-19.
Forty-two teams competed in Jerusalem in 2021, doubling the number that participated in the 2018 games in Panama. The top teams from that tournament qualified for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
Canada is the only country to have hosted the World Championship twice, holding the competition in 2008 and 2010. The tournaments have also been held in Austria, France, South Korea, Sweden, Italy, the United States, Panama, and Isreal.
Flag Football World Championship Game Rules
The world championship tournament regulations are similar to traditional football and most flag football games played across the globe.
The offense gets four downs to cross midfield to keep possession and earn a new set of four downs. If a a team fails to move the ball, possession is surrendered to the opponent, which starts at its own 5-yard line.
A play ends when the flag is removed from the ball carrier’s belt, the play goes out of bounds, or when a pass hits the ground incomplete.
Teams score six points on a touchdown and one or two points after that on a play from the 5- or 10-yard lines. The team that finishes the game with the most points wins.
Teams compete on a field measuring 46 meters long by 23 meters wide with an additional end zone of nine meters.
Games are 40 minutes total, split into 20-minute halves.
Each roster consists of 15 players with five on the field playing and 10 substitutes.
How do teams qualify for the World Championships?
Teams qualify for the IFAF Flag Football World Championships by participating in and winning their respective national or regional qualifier tournaments. Qualifying tournaments are organized by the national governing body for flag football in each country.
Automatic berths are given to the host nation and defending champion.
The 2024 Flag Football World Championship Tour is a series of tournaments held in cities across the globe. The tour will culminate with a championship event where the best flag football teams from around the world will compete for the title of world champion.
How is a champion crowned?
The IFAF Flag Football World Championship begins with pool play, which determines seeding for the elimination-style playoffs. The top teams are awarded gold (first place), silver (second), and bronze (third) medals.
The tournament features a gold medal game and a bronze medal game with the top four teams.
What is the International Federation of American Football?
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is the governing body for the sport of American football around the world. IFAF oversees the development and promotion of American football at the international level and organizes international competitions, including the IFAF World Cup and the IFAF Flag Football World Championships. It also oversees beach football.
IFAF is composed of more than 120 member countries around the world, each of which has its own national governing body for American football. The organization was founded in 1998 and has its headquarters in France.
IFAF became a provisional member of SportAccord in 2003 and a full member in 2005. SportAccord represents the interests of sports federations across the globe.
What is the Pajulahti Olympic and Paralympic Training Centre
The Pajulahti Olympic and Paralympic Training Centre is a sports training facility located in Lahti, Finland. The Centre was founded in 2001, and it provides training and accommodation facilities for athletes and teams from various sports.
Pajulahti is one of the most well-equipped sports training centers in Finland, providing high-quality training conditions for athletes of all levels. The center offers a wide range of facilities including accommodation, dining, sports halls, fitness centers, saunas, and swimming pools. It also offers physiotherapy, sports medicine, and rehabilitation services.
The center has also been designated as the official training center for the Finnish Paralympic team and many national teams use the center as their training base.
Why is Lahti, Finland a good location for the World Championships?
Lahti is located in southern Finland, about 110 kilometers north of the capital city of Helsinki. It is the eighth-largest city in Finland, with a population of around 100,000 people.
Lahti is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, including the Salpausselkä ridge, which is a popular spot for hiking and skiing. The city is also home to many cultural and historical sites, such as the Lahti Historic Centre, which is home to the Finnish Labour Temple and the Lahti Art Museum.
Lahti is also known for its sports facilities, particularly for winter sports and cross-country skiing. The city has hosted several World Cup events and the Nordic skiing World Championships in 2017. Lahti has also hosted the World Masters Athletics Championships in 1991 and the World Ski Championships in 1978.
The city is also home to several universities, research institutions, and high-tech companies, making it a vibrant and dynamic place to live and work.
Lahti is a great place to visit if you want to experience Finland’s beautiful natural surroundings, rich cultural heritage, and sports heritage.
Explore The Fun Of Flag Football World Championship 2024
Excitement is building about what promises to be a truly international event. Since flag football isn’t played in the Olympics, this is almost as big as it gets for a world flag competition.
“Finland has consistently proven an outstanding partner for IFAF events,” IFAF president Pierre Trochet said. The country’s innovative vision, youthful spirit, and passion for sport – especially women’s sport – are a great match for everything we are trying to achieve with flag football,”
With teams coming from all over the world to compete, it is sure to be a festival of top-level flag football action. And with the USA looking to extend its record number of titles won, there will be plenty at stake for all involved!
Vance J has played flag football since he was a boy. Since then, he has become a coach and a huge advocate for growing the sport. He loves to write and talk about flag football!