FIL approves strategic plan for Olympic drive

The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) has adopted a strategic plan to introduce major changes in the sport as it seeks inclusion at a future edition of the Olympic Games.

The changes were approved during the FIL’s General Assembly meeting in Netanya, Israel, where the Men’s World Championship got underway yesterday (Wednesday).

The plan for the period spanning 2018 to 2024 focuses on increasing the number of participating countries on all continents, continuing the development of international and continental events, growing lacrosse globally, appealing to the youth market, developing the sport’s television audience, and capitalising on new and emerging media platforms for viewers.

One of the three key priorities of the FIL’s Strategic Plan will see the body seek to effectively build relationships and present the sport’s case to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic family and host cities for the Olympic Games. The plan will also aim to build the brand, popularity, appeal and growth of the sport globally, and increase the “core competencies” of the FIL and continental and national federations.

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.”

Chief executive Jim Scherr added: “There is a lot of work ahead. 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 General Assembly meeting also saw a number of rule changes introduced. From next year, FIL world events will feature 10 athletes per side in women’s lacrosse, bringing it in line with the men’s game. Four quarters of 15-minute periods with a running clock for men’s and women’s lacrosse will also be introduced.

“We are looking to harmonise 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,” Redfern added. “We are pleased with the adoption of these rules which shall increase the speed of the game and increase the safety of athletes.”

The FIL’s General Assembly meeting was attended by a record 53 nations.