COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, USA – World Lacrosse today welcomed six members to the international lacrosse family: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Malta, Sierra Leone and Togo. The World Lacrosse membership now stands at 85 nations.
The six-member group is the largest single addition to WL’s membership since August 2008 and the second-largest addition dating back to 1974. World Lacrosse has now welcomed 12 members since the start of 2022.
World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said: “Welcoming six members at once is a hallmark achievement for World Lacrosse and we are excited for these nations to join our global community. The development of lacrosse in Africa remains one of our top priorities, and the inclusion of five African nations reflects the exceptional growth and desire to play the game in the region.”
Rufus Ntiamoah, World Lacrosse manager of sport in Africa, said: “I am pleased to welcome five members at once into our Africa Association of Lacrosse family, as well as the global community. Africa is incredibly diverse, and it is important to see growth in West Africa as the game rapidly develops across the continent. I am also proud of the work the AAL has done in a brief time to facilitate such exponential growth.”
The AAL, which was formed in 2022, now has 11 members, including seven that joined within the last year. The AAL also hosted a successful qualifier for the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship between Uganda and Kenya in November of last year.
With the addition of Malta, the European Lacrosse Federation now has 35 members, and its first new member since Lithuania in 2019.
The growth of the World Lacrosse membership has spanned the globe since the start of 2022, with new members coming from five different continents. Before its newest five members, the AAL added Rwanda and Nigeria in June 2022. The Pan-American Lacrosse Association welcomed Uruguay in August 2022 and Nicaragua earlier that year in February. The Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union added Iran most recently in October 2022 and Cambodia prior to that in February.
The past decade has seen nearly a 90 percent growth in members for World Lacrosse with 40 nations joining the existing membership of 45 nations.