With growth comes challenge and that was evident when the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) announced yesterday morning via Twitter that the 2018 FIL Men’s World Championship was moving from England to Israel.
English Lacrosse announced in a statement that it had withdrawn its bid to host due to financial concerns:
“This has been a very difficult decision for the sport to make and has been taken with the utmost consideration for the successful hosting of the event and the financial sustainability of lacrosse in England. The EL board after great consideration and consultation, found the event, in the form EL would wish to deliver, placed the governing body and sport at unacceptable financial risk.”
The FIL had notified its members in late March that they were working through logistical and financial matters related to the 2018 world championship before asking for final commitments from competing nations. Yesterday, the FIL sent official notification to the member countries that the event would be moving to Israel with additional details to follow in May.
England hosted the FIL Men’s World Championship in 2010 and is hosting this summer’s FIL Women’s World Championship, but the size of those two events are much smaller than what is expected for 2018.
This summer’s women’s world championship will feature 25 nations competing. In 2010, a total of 29 teams competed in the men’s world championship. The men’s world championship grew to 38 teams when US Lacrosse hosted the event in Denver in 2014. Next summer’s world championship is expected to draw as many as 48 nations.
The growth has created logistical challenges for host nations. The expansion of the number of teams competing limits the number of facilities able to host the event, and brings additional costs to the host country, while bringing in little additional revenue. The newer teams generally have small fan bases, and are not likely to generate additional ticket sales or sponsorship support for the event organizers. The FIL has previously stated that it is exploring qualification models that would limit the number of teams competing at the world championship.
Israel Lacrosse has not commented publicly on the FIL announcement other than to re-tweet the FIL’s tweet, but a press conference is scheduled for May 11 in Tel Aviv.
Israel Lacrosse joined the FIL in 2011 and has been very successful on the international stage in a short time. The women’s team finished in eighth place at the World Cup in 2013, the men’s team finished in seventh place in Denver in 2014 and the U19 men’s team finished sixth in 2016.