In flag football, a variation of American football, a down is ended by the defensive team “de-flagging” the ball carrier by removing a flag or flag belt from them. There is little physical contact between players in flag football. Amateur solid interest in the sport results in several annual national and international contests supported by different groups. The 2022 World Games, which will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, in the United States, is an invitational avenue for the game to be played. The International Federation of American Football is the sport’s global governing organization (IFAF).
Although each league has its unique set of flag football regulations, they all replicate the laws of regular US-American football with flag-pulling in place of tackling. Traditional American football regulations are sometimes abolished or changed to represent the more recreational character of the game, the goal to limit physical contact and harm, and the often smaller number of playing players per side. The sport has developed into several versions, mainly because there is no dominating sanctioning organization for it: between 9 -4 players on each side; coed or single-gender; kicking and punting; point-after conversions with or without attempts for 1, 2, and 3 points; and varying field widths.
The World Games in 2022, which will be held for the 40th time, will run from July 7 to July 17, 2022. Flag Football will feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams worldwide at Birmingham’s historic Legion Field. The men’s and women’s teams from the United States have already qualified for the 2022 Global Games as the current defending world champions. The IFAF qualifying method will be used to choose the final seven teams. A beginner’s guide to World Games Flag Football was posted online in 2021.
The NFL and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced in May 2020 that flag football would become a varsity sport for female student-athletes.  The NAIA officially recognized the sport at the varsity level for the first time. The NAIA and NFL anticipated upgrading the sport to an invitational level by 2022 with at least 25 teams. Women’s flag debuted during the 2020–21 season as an emerging sport with at least 15 units.