Aug. 13, 2008
by Brian Logue, Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Following more than four years of discussion, the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) -- a merger of the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations (IFWLA) and the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) -- is a reality. The IFWLA and ILF held their final meetings in Finland in early August in conjunction with the European Lacrosse Championships, and the FIL held its inaugural meeting on Aug. 7.
The new organization brings men's and women's international lacrosse under one umbrella, allowing the volunteer-run organization to more efficiently use its resources to help develop the game worldwide.
"This creates an efficiency of operations," said Steve Stenersen, executive director of US Lacrosse and a member of the unification committee that coordinated the effort to bring the two organizations together. "Geography is a real challenge for people to connect and one organization will help with that challenge."
The FIL will also feature a six-member board that will meet twice per year. Previously the two organizations held only one annual meeting.
"The board will allow the organization to push forward initiatives and manage them in a more frequent way," said Stenersen.
Feffie Barnhill, a past chair of US Lacrosse and former women's lacrosse coach at the College of William and Mary, will serve as the inaugural president of the FIL. Other board members include Stan Cockerton (vice president, Canada), Shelley Maher (women's lacrosse director, Australia), Jack Emmer (men's lacrosse director, USA), Ron Balls (director of finance, England) and Tom Hayes (director of development, USA).
During its final meetings, the IFWLA expanded to 16 nations with the addition of New Zealand, Korea, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), Ireland, Denmark, Austria and Netherlands as full members and Hong Kong as an associate member. The ILF membership grew to 34 nations with the addition of Spain, Latvia and Austria as full members, and Bulgaria, France, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and Costa Rica as associate members.
The inaugural FIL world championship will be held next summer with the women's senior championship in Prague, Czech Republic. The first FIL men's senior championship will be held in 2010 in Manchester, England. The 2011 women's U-19 championship has been tentatively awarded to Göttingen, Germany, the 2011 men's indoor world championship has been awarded to Prague, Czech Republic and the 2012 men's U-19 championship was awarded to Turku, Finland.