December 5, 2018

New York, NY – The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) recently was provided provisional recognition at the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo, a historic first step for the sport of Lacrosse, which has not been seen at the Olympics since 1948 in London.

While it is only the first step in a lengthy process for inclusion into the Games, many of the sports’ top athletes from around the globe quickly jumped to respond positively.

“I think I share the excitement of the entire Lacrosse community around the globe in hearing the news that the sport is one step closer to joining the Olympic program for 2028,” said Brodie Merrill, co-captain of Team Canada, gold medalist at the 2014 and silver medalist at the 2018 Men’s FIL World Championships. “It’s almost surreal to say that. It means so much to the overall impact and growth for the sport. It would really expose the sport to new areas of the world, which is an exciting prospect.”

“I know this is just the beginning, but I am so excited that Lacrosse is being considered because the first step is the biggest step,” said Sachiyo Yamada, Captain of Team Australia. “I know I will continue to work hard to make the sport of Lacrosse popular in all the Asian countries. Thank you, International Olympic Committee, for the opportunity.”

“I grew up playing Lacrosse out of pure love and passion, but motivationally I wanted to play for Team USA and when I was able to do that at a world level, I created moments with my teammates and coaches that I will never forget,” said Paul Rabil of Team USA and widely considered one of the sports’ all-time greats. “I wish the same for each of you out there that want to play in the Olympics. We have an opportunity now. Until then let’s work hard every day, grow this game and continue to talk about the potential of lacrosse in the Olympics someday. Thanks to everyone behind the scenes and especially to the IOC for the provisional recognition.”

“We understand this is the first step in the process, but we are so excited in the international lacrosse community,” said Séraphine Aelterman of Team Belgium. “I hope this dream can come true as it will inspire coaches, players, and officials around the world. I know how enriching the sport of lacrosse has been for me. As an athlete, it has shaped my being. If we are fortunate to be in the Olympics, it will certainly motivate and fuel the dreams of the next generation of players.”

“I am hopeful, the sport of Lacrosse will make it into the 2028 Olympic Games,” said Ibrahim Jafar, of Team Uganda and also president of Uganda Lacrosse Federation. “This is a very important development for our sport around the world. Here on the African continent we are working hard with FIL to grow the sport. I would like to thank the International Olympic Committee for this opportunity.”

“It’s been an amazing few days for the sport of Lacrosse with the International Olympic Committee recognizing us with a provisionary designation for the 2028 Olympics,” said Rob Pannell, a member of Team USA, the 2018 Men’s FIL World Champions.  “On behalf of so many Lacrosse players worldwide, I’d like to thank the IOC for their initial consideration and hope they will eventually accept the ‘fastest sport on two feet.’”

“FIL is very pleased to have received this recognition by the IOC Executive Board,” said Jim Scherr, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of International Lacrosse. “The IOC recognition provides a real opportunity to enhance and accelerate the efforts of FIL to continue to grow and develop the sport around the world.”

The Federation of International Lacrosse is responsible for the governance of lacrosse and provides support to the overall development of the sport worldwide. Earlier this year, FIL hosted the 2018 Men’s FIL World Championship, which was the largest ever with 46 nations competing in Netanya, Israel. In 2019, the FIL Under-19 Women’s World Championship will be held in Peterborough, Canada, August 1-10, and the FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Langley, Canada, September 19-28.