Fourth Continental Federation for lacrosse launches amid sport’s increasing global popularity
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, USA – World Lacrosse today announced the formation of its fourth Continental Federation – the Africa Association of Lacrosse – to support the sport’s rapidly increasing popularity across Africa’s 54 countries. Following the completion of a formal application process for World Lacrosse membership, the AAL will help guide existing African lacrosse federations from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, while also working to expand participation and development in additional areas of the continent.
The AAL was formed as part of Lacrosse for All: Africa, an initiative started in early 2020 by World Lacrosse to further the development of the sport on the African continent. The program – which is buoyed by annual development grants from the International Olympic Committee – is a central part of World Lacrosse’s efforts to grow and promote the game at the grassroots level, and to build infrastructure to foster future progression.
The AAL was formalized during a meeting that included leaders from each of Africa’s four existing National Federations, and World Lacrosse board and staff members on the sidelines of the USA Lacrosse Convention earlier this month in Baltimore. Additional participants in an observational capacity were representatives from two emerging lacrosse nations – Nigeria and Rwanda – which are expected to soon seek official membership via World Lacrosse’s recently updated process that was approved at the 2021 General Assembly.
During the meeting in Baltimore, the AAL’s constitution and bylaws were formed, and the federation’s first president – Rufus Ntiamoah of Ghana – was unanimously elected. Ntiamoah, who is the current president of the Ghana Lacrosse Association, will now oversee the completion of the AAL’s strategic plan as well as the seating of the remainder of the board of directors. Following that, the AAL will formally apply to serve as a World Lacrosse Continental Federation member.
Once approved, the AAL will be the fourth CF member of World Lacrosse, alongside the Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union (16 members), the European Lacrosse Federation (34 members) and the Pan-American Lacrosse Association (19 members). World Lacrosse will have CF representation in each of the five continental regions recognized by the IOC: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said: “This is a seminal moment for the sport. Through our Lacrosse for All: Africa initiative – graciously supported by the IOC – our growth in Africa has been tremendous, and we now have incredible momentum following our recent meetings and the formation of the AAL. With critical leadership at the board level in this area driven by President Sue Redfern and Development Director Bob DeMarco, as well as ongoing engagement from our staff and the global lacrosse community, this sport has become truly universal with broad international appeal, factors that also bode well on our Olympic journey.”
AAL President Rufus Ntiamoah said: “I am so pleased to be selected for this role and humbled by the trust AAL members have in me to serve the organization. I look forward to the collaboration of our members to continue to develop the sport of lacrosse in Africa.”
Another signal of its strong commitment in Africa, World Lacrosse will add a staff position to further encourage the sport’s development in the region.