World Lacrosse took an historic step forward in its continued growth and development today, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Membership voted to grant Full Recognition to the international federation for lacrosse. The vote took place during the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games.

For World Lacrosse, the conferral of Full Recognition by the IOC is the fulfillment of a goal the organization first established for itself more than a decade ago and is a reflection of the vision and contributions of countless volunteers around the globe who have been steadfast in their commitment to support the continued growth of lacrosse by expanding opportunities for participation at every level.

“This is a momentous day for lacrosse enthusiasts around the world and a reason for our entire World Lacrosse family to celebrate,” said World Lacrosse President Sue Redfern. “We are deeply grateful to the Membership of the International Olympic Committee for today’s vote and the expression of confidence it reflects. With Full Recognition comes greater responsibility, and we are committed to serving as an active and engaged member of the international sport community and supporting our partners across sport.”

“We also offer our congratulations to the other international federations who, alongside World Lacrosse, also secured Full Recognition today. We are proud to be your partners and wish you the very best for continued success,” added Redfern.

“The evaluation process for Full Recognition has been intensive, but at every step in the process, the IOC has helped make World Lacrosse a stronger, more effective international federation, and we greatly appreciate the IOC’s ongoing support and encouragement,” said World Lacrosse Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “While today’s decision represents a historic milestone for World Lacrosse, it is not the culmination of our journey. Rather, we will use this new status and the momentum it creates to find new ways to continue expanding opportunities for participation in lacrosse around the globe while supporting even greater growth.”

Two recent, major milestones in the pursuit of Full Recognition by the IOC were:
  • November 30, 2018 — the IOC Executive Board grants Provisional Recognition to World Lacrosse
  • June 10, 2021 — the IOC Executive Board approves a recommendation from the IOC Sports Department to grant Full Recognition to the international federation for men’s and women’s lacrosse

As part of the evaluation process for Full Recognition, the IOC Sports Department conducted a comprehensive review of more than 500 pages of material submitted by World Lacrosse before making its recommendation the IOC Executive Board.

The grant of Full Recognition by the IOC ensures World Lacrosse will maintain its status as a member of the Association of IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF). Additionally, World Lacrosse will continue to be eligible to receive financial support through the IOC Development Program and will continue to benefit from access to IOC meetings, educational seminars, publications and other resources.

Moreover, the conferral of Full Recognition means World Lacrosse and the game it stewards will continue to grow in stature and influence in the community of international sport.

Among the fastest-growing international federations in sport, World Lacrosse now represents 70 member-National Governing Bodies worldwide and has welcomed seven new members in the last 20 months alone. During the past three years, the international federation has significantly expanded the benefits and services offered to its members, particularly in the areas of sport development, coaching education and officiating education.

In May 2021, World Lacrosse formally introduced a new discipline of lacrosse — World Lacrosse Sixes — which is designed to:

  • Support and encourage the continued growth of lacrosse worldwide
  • Provide greater access to lacrosse by eliminating barriers to entry (eg: cost, team size, field size)
  • Appeal to the next generation of sport participants and fans with a discipline that features tempo, speed, scoring and less specialization
  • Over time, create greater competitive balance internationally by bringing more nations within reach of the podium at major international events
  • And, fit within the 21st Century Olympic framework, where the International Olympic Committee and Host Cities are working to reduce the cost and complexity of staging the Olympic Games

The response to World Lacrosse Sixes has been overwhelmingly positive, with five international or domestic invitational events already scheduled for the latter part of 2021.

World Lacrosse is also undertaking a full review of its current World Championship structure, with an aim toward improving the experience for participating athletes while increasing the visibility and marketability of these signature properties.

-World Lacrosse Sport