FIL takes World Championship to Israel, hires first CEO

The Israeli city of Netanya has been announced as the new host of the Federation of International Lacrosse’s Men’s World Championship in 2018, while the FIL has hired former US Olympic Committee (USOC) chief executive Jim Scherr as its first CEO.

The World Championship will run from July 12-21 next summer and will feature 50 countries and over 2,000 athletes.

Netanya replaces Manchester as host of the event following the withdrawal of the English city due to financial issues. It will mark the first time that the World Championship has taken place in Israel, along with its maiden visit to a country where English is not the primary language.

The FIL said that Netanya has been chosen due its successful hosting of previous sporting events, such as the European Swimming Championships, World Surfing Championships, international tennis tournaments and the Uefa Under-21 European Championship football tournament.

Scott Neiss, executive director of the Israel Lacrosse Association, said: “The success of Israel lacrosse both internationally, that sees us ranked seventh in the world and the domestic infrastructure we’ve established at grassroots level here in Israel, put us in good standing when submitting our bid to host the FIL World Championships and we’re delighted to showcase our country, our facilities, and the spirit of Israel to the world.”

The US city of Denver hosted the 2014 World Championship, which was won by Canada.

Meanwhile, the FIL has hired Scherr as it seeks to continue its ongoing development and fulfil an ambition to make the sports programme for the summer Olympic Games. FIL president Stan Cockerton said: “Over the last 10-15 years, we’ve seen such positive growth. Not only with the number of countries, but the movement towards our Olympic vision.

“The day-to-day details had gotten to be too much for a seven-person volunteer board to handle. Now we can move forward in a more professional, timely manner. We’re hoping this is just our first full-time position with more to come. I think the sport deserves it.”

Scherr has been involved in sports administration for nearly 30 years, serving as USOC chief executive from 2005 to 2009. His most recent role was as the executive director for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, the governing body for the U.S. Paralympic team.

Scherr said: “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity. Lacrosse is growing around the world, and I think it has tremendous potential to return to the Olympic program. The goal of the IOC is to modernise the Olympics and make it more relevant. Lacrosse certainly brings that. It’s an ideal Olympic sport.”

He added: “The first thing is to get to know the individuals from the countries around the world that have driven the sport forward and build on those relationships. We want to improve the championships and increase the marketability of the sport.”

Scherr begins his duties as FIL’s chief executive on June 19.