NETANYA, ISRAEL – The Federation of International Lacrosse concluded its annual General Assembly on July 10, ahead of the 2018 FIL Men’s World Championship in Netanya, Israel. This was the largest General Assembly in FIL history with more than 50 nations in attendance. The World Championship starts July 11, with the gold-medal game set for July 21.
The General Assembly was presided over by FIL President Sue Redfern and approved sweeping and major changes to the governance of the sport and the system of international competition. The major action approved was the FIL long-term Strategic Plan for 2018-2024 to accomplish the vision of lacrosse in the Olympic Games and seeing the sport played in all countries. Jim Scherr, FIL CEO, provided a detailed plan on Lacrosse’s vision as well as challenges on gaining entrance and acceptance in a future Olympic Games’ sport program. FIL President Sue Redfern said, “The newly approved Strategic Plan marks a new era for the development of lacrosse through the pursuit of its Olympic Vision while re-imagining World events and growing the game and its brand around the world.”
The plan prioritizes increasing the number of participating countries on all continents, continued development of international and continental major events, growing lacrosse globally and an overall appeal to youth, and the importance of making the sport relevant to fans through larger TV audience, and new and emerging media platforms for viewers worldwide.
“There is a lot of work ahead,” said Scherr. “Lacrosse is an incredible sport that is growing quickly around the world that has values consistent with the values of the Olympic movement and would make a positive addition to the Olympic program. As the international federation we will continue to promote the brand of lacrosse globally and increase the visibility and audience for the sport.”
The three key strategic priorities of the plan are:
1. Effectively build relationships and successfully present the case of lacrosse to the IOC, Olympic family, and host cities for the Olympic Games.
2. Build the brand, popularity, appeal, and growth of lacrosse globally.
3. Increase the core competencies of FIL, its Continental Federations, National Federations, and management to support the effort.
The FIL member nations attending the assembly, adopted several significant rule changes to improve the following of the sport, increase the speed of the game, and synchronize the sport for men’s and women’s lacrosse. The rules adopted were also intended to increase fan engagement.
The key FIL Rule changes which were adopted are:
10 athletes per side in women’s lacrosse, harmonizing the sport for both men and women. This rule will be in effect for 2019 FIL World Events.
Four quarters of 15-minute periods with a running clock for both men’s and women’s lacrosse that provides uniformity for both men’s and women’s lacrosse, and increases athlete safety.
No over and back in men’s lacrosse. This was an effort to increase the speed of the game and scoring opportunities. It also showcases good defensive play as the ball stays in the short side of the field.
Sudden death overtime periods that will be in four-minute intervals, with the game closing upon the first goal scored.
Quick restart. The official shall resume play as quickly as possible. If an opposing player is within five yards of the player with the ball, the opposing player cannot defend the ball until the player reaches a distance of five yards.
“We are looking to harmonize the sport between men and women, and not altering the traditional styles of play, as we continue to identify ways to increase fan engagement and following of the sport,” said Redfern. “We are pleased with the adoption of these rules which shall increase the speed of the game and increase the safety of athletes.”
The structure of the FIL World events will now change as the limits on the numbers of entries for future World events is limited to 30 teams. A qualifying system at the continental level for FIL World events was also put in place.
The General Assembly also conducted elections for several Board of Directors positions. Bob Demarco, Development Director, and Steve Stenersen, Vice-President, were re-elected to the Board of Directors. Newly elected to the board was Fiona Clark as Competition Director.
The General Assembly was attended by a record number of member nations. The 53 nations represented in Israel mark the continued growth of the sport internationally. FIL now has 60-member nations.
To follow the 2018 FIL Men’s World Championship, get the most recent content from FIL’s FanHub that provides one location for fans to see and read all the content written about the 2018 FIL Men’s World Championship at www.fanhub.filacrosse.com
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