(ATR) American Football was proposed in the sports program for the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama just two years before its opening on July 7, 2022.
The one-year postponement of the World Games, due to the change in the date of the Tokyo Olympics, will allow Birmingham to have Protective Stadium, a new 45,000-seat football venue, ready by 2022.
The new stadium is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021.
This possibility led the organizing committee, with the approval of the respective federation, to propose to the International World Games Association (IWGA) the entry of football as the last of its invited sports to the program.
Around the Rings confirmed on Tuesday that the IWGA executive committee approved the inclusion of football, a discipline that was not included in the original plan.
The decision will be ratified by the IWGA general assembly in May 2021.
The presence of this sport at the World Games will have a major media and economic impact for Birmingham.
José Perurena, president of IWGA, called the reaction of the organizers and Birmingham authorities to the postponement of the World Games as "super positive."
Perurena, a survivor of the new coronavirus that severely affected him in March, felt that the new date "fits perfectly."
The World Games will be held July 7-17, while the 18th World Athletics Championships, in Eugene, Oregon, also postponed from this summer, will be held from July 15-24, both in 2022.
"The games end on Sunday and on Friday, start the athletics… but the first days are for playoffs and traditionally don’t have a lot of attention from TV," Perurena clarified.
NBC Sports is the U.S. broadcast medium for both competitions and the Olympic Games.
"We have made an economic analysis and the change of date is totally viable," says Perurena.
"In addition to the current situation in the United States, I do not think that any politician in this country is considering focusing on any such activity in the short term.
"From this point of view, the infrastructure of Birmingham 2022 has not had to face any obstacles in terms of facilities due to this postponement.
"There is always a cost if you have a team of professionals working and you have to pay them another year of wages, it’s obvious. Like with what happened with Tokyo.
"Compared to the expected results of the city, that will be minimal" in this case, Perurena believes.
A more difficult task may be ensuring that the best athletes are in Birmingham.
"We have to fit the 2021 international qualifying tournaments of international federations into the tight international calendar of 2021. The vast majority will do so after the Olympic Games until March 2022."
"We want the best athletes from every sport to go to the World Games," says Perurena.
With about 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries, the 11th World Games is advertised as the biggest sporting event in the Southern United States since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
With the inclusion of football, the program now has 34 sports.
Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez
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