Flag football and cheerleading join The World Games. WG

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) and the International Cheer Union (ICU) have joined the International World Games Association (IWGA). This brings the total number of members to 40. The vote to admit the two bodies took place on 1 May and they will be included in the Chengdu 2025 programme.

Both elite sports, flag football and cheerleading, will be part of the sports programme at Chengdu 2025. Flag football was already included in the Invitational Sports Programme at Birmingham 2022, but will now become a full member of the International World Games Association (IWGA).

It was already a fact that both bodies were in the process of applying for membership. They wanted to be part of the federation and be part of a growing structure.

The members of the IWGA considered the applications of the two federations and the delegates voted on Wednesday, 1st May 2024, at the IWGA Annual General Meeting in Esslingen (GER) to accept them one by one.

Chengdu 2025 will include cheerleading. GETTY IMAGES
Chengdu 2025 will include cheerleading. GETTY IMAGES

Flag football is growing exponentially. It is a dynamic discipline, a short, fast and non-contact sport known as the most accessible and inclusive version of American football. Its inclusion for the first time in history in the official programme of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles will undoubtedly help it take off. 

Flag leads the world in terms of participation in American football, with around 20 million people in more than 100 countries. All organisations are attracted by this development. There are more and more people who want to enjoy this sport.

Cheerleading is also an attractive team sport that combines dance and acrobatics with shouting slogans to entertain spectators at sporting events and create a more enthusiastic atmosphere. The spectacle that surrounds it is what adds value to any event and it will now be included in the IWGA.

Flag football is included in Los Angeles 2028. GETTY IMAGES
Flag football is included in Los Angeles 2028. GETTY IMAGES

The IWGA, as the world governing body for cheer and its disciplines and the global authority on all matters relating to cheer, has been fully recognised by the IOC for 2021.

President Perurena said, "We are very pleased that the IFAF and the ICU have been accepted as full members of the IWGA. We warmly welcome both International Federations to the World Games family. Flag Football and Cheerleading are two popular sports that will further enhance the appeal of The World Games sports programme. They will contribute to the extraordinary growth of our event."

"On behalf of IFAF, I would like to thank the International World Games Association, President Perurena and the members of the IWGA for granting us full membership. The World Games, from our Tackle Game debut in Duisburg, Germany, in 2005, to hosting Flag Football at the historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2022, have provided many milestones for our Federation and our athletes," said IFAF President Pierre Trochet.

ICU President Jeff Webb said, "For the millions of cheer athletes around the world, as well as our coaches, officials, National Federations and cheer enthusiasts on every continent, the ICU's acceptance into the IWFA family as a full member is an incredible milestone. As an IWGA member, the ICU looks forward to delivering an incredible event in Chengdu and at future World Games in the years to come."

The IWGA is an international sports body recognised and supported by the International Olympic Committee. It now has 40 international sports federation members. The next edition of the TWG will be held in Chengdu (CHN) from 7-17 August 2025. The 12th TWG is expected to attract 5,000 athletes from over 100 countries. The previous Games were held in Birmingham, Alabama (USA).