Football must spread to join Olympics, IOC president says

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Football needs “broad international representation” if it wants to join the Olympics, IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday.

“This I cannot see in football,” Bach said at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Beaver Creek, Colo., according to The Associated Press. “It’s a very American sport.”

The IOC provisionally recognized the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) in December 2013, seven months after the IOC rejected the IFAF’s initial application.

IOC recognition is an early step before being able to attempt becoming an Olympic sport, one of many steps. Many other sports with a long shot of making it on the Olympic program are currently IOC recognized, including auto racing, chess and tug of war. Football has a long road ahead if it decides it has Olympic aspirations.

Football’s only appearance at the Olympics was as a demonstration sport in 1932. It has since grown globally to a certain degree with international leagues, NFL games in London and Toronto and players drafted from Ghana and Tonga.

The IFAF was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in France.

Video: Thomas Bach’s Super Bowl interview with Bob Costas