The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) today announced that Spain will host the 2021 IFAF Men’s and Women’s Flag World Championships.
Palma, Spain, located on the island of Mallorca – the largest of the country’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea – will be the site of the 10th IFAF Flag World Championships from Oct. 6-10, 2021. Men’s and Women’s flag national teams drawn from IFAF’s member nations will compete for gold medals in each division. IFAF is a provisional member of the International Olympic Committee.
Spain is the reigning European Women’s Flag Champion. The Spanish Women’s Flag National Team captured the continental tournament hosted by Israel in 2019, defeating Great Britain in the Gold Medal Game, 28-14.
"It is an honour for FEFA to be able to organize the flag world championship in 2021” said Enrique Garcia De Castro, President of the Spanish Federation.
“We want to thank IFAF for giving this opportunity. We would also like to thank the city council of Mallorca, the “Consell de Mallorca” and the “Govern de les illes Balears”. Without the support of these institutions it would not be possible to organize the World Cup.
Garcia De Castro continued “The championship will be a real party for our sport. Athletes, spectators, staff and all the rest of the participants will be able to enjoy the hospitality and professionalism of all those involved in the organization of the event. The wonderful Mediterranean island called Mallorca will be the ideal place for the World Cup. We will have fantastic facilities and great accommodation for practicing our sport. We hope to see you with open arms.
The 2021 event marks the first time that Spain has hosted an IFAF World Championship, which have been held since 1998 spanning Men’s and Women’s divisions across flag and tackle football. Normally conducted every two years, the 2020 flag world championships were cancelled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“The global American Football family greatly anticipates a tremendous world championship in Palma next October,” said IFAF President Richard MacLean. “As our sport’s popularity continues to grow, it’s both exciting and fitting to experience a new host nation embrace our game and the world-class athletes who love to play it.”
Next October will mark the fifth time that a European nation has hosted IFAF Flag World Championships, surpassing North America (four). Spain joins Italy (2014), Sweden (2012), France (2004) and Austria (2002) as European hosts. Asia (South Korea, 2006) is the third continent to have hosted IFAF Flag World Championships.
The top seven Men’s and Women’s teams in Palma, excluding the United States, will qualify for The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Ala., U.S.A. The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Flag National Teams have already qualified for The World Games by virtue of their Gold Medal-winning performances at the 2018 IFAF Flag World Championships in Panama. U.S. National Teams are managed by USA Football, a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Hosted at Birmingham’s Legion Field, flag football at The World Games 2022 will be presented by the NFL and will hold historic significance, marking the first time that flag football is featured on a global, multi-sport stage.
“Today’s announcement is an exciting step on the road to Birmingham,” said Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022. “We’ll be watching closely, as this event will determine the eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams who will be competing for gold in Flag Football @TWG2022 Presented by the NFL, the pinnacle of international competition for athletes from around the world. We’re grateful for the support of IFAF and the NFL, and look forward to hosting flag football at The World Games for the first time in history.”
Four countries have won each of the past four IFAF Women’s Flag Football World Championships: United States (2018), Panama (2016), Canada (2014) and Mexico (2012). In Men’s play, four nations have won gold in the nine IFAF Flag Football World Championships since 2002. The U.S. men have won four of the past five, including one-possession Gold Medal Game victories in 2018 (19-13 against Austria) and 2016 (33-32 against Denmark).
The full field of Men’s and Women’s Flag National Teams to compete in Palma will be confirmed in early 2021