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LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Football took a tiny step closer to potential inclusion in the Olympics on Tuesday.

The IOC's executive board granted provisional recognition to the international association that oversees the American brand of the sport.

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) had 64 member nations spanning six continents.

USA Football governs the sport in the United States and is associated with the NFL. A vote on approving football for the Summer Games could take place as early as 2017, with the possibility of the sport joining the Olympics in 2024.

IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi praised football's federation for demonstrating "strong youth appeal and making great progress in developing their sport around the world."