November 15, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, USA — A volunteer who has devoted more than 40 years of service to the development of lacrosse around the globe has been selected for the highest honor bestowed by World Lacrosse, the Lifetime Achiever Award.

Ron Balls, who in 2008 was instrumental in establishing the Federation of International Lacrosse — known today as World Lacrosse (WL) — was honored with the Lifetime Achiever Award today by WL President Sue Redfern during Day Two of the organization’s Virtual General Assembly. A formal presentation of the award will be made at the earliest in-person World Championship event.

Presented by the World Lacrosse Board of Directors, the Lifetime Achiever Award is given to select individuals in recognition of extraordinary service to the international federation and lasting contributions to the global growth of the game

From 2008-16, Balls served as Finance Director on the international federation Board of Directors, and from 2016 through the close of the General Assembly today, he has served as Secretary General. In his roles with the Board of Directors, Balls has taken on the heavy responsibility of managing governance legislation and policies, agendas and meetings, financial oversight and the communication and services provided to membership. His knowledge of international federation bylaws, policies and procedures is unmatched.

In addition to his service to the Board of Directors, Balls served as Men’s Competition Chair, where he played a lead role in the planning and delivery of numerous World Championship events and helped expand opportunities for athletes to compete at the highest levels of lacrosse. He has also served on numerous working groups and task forces established to address the unique challenges and opportunities of a rapidly growing international federation.

As Secretary General, Balls helped lead the effort to gain recognition for the international federation with organizations such as the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and, in November 2018, Provisional Recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Very simply said, World Lacrosse would not be where it is today, nor what it is today, were it not for the extraordinary contributions and commitment of Ron Balls,” said Redfern. “I cannot think of a person better-suited to receive our most prestigious honor. Ron has left an indelible imprint on our international federation, and generations of players, coaches and officials will continue to benefit from his lasting contributions. He has been tireless in his service and immensely generous in his time.”

Born and educated in England, Balls started to play lacrosse at the age of 20 after being introduced to the game by a school friend. He played for the Buckhurst Hill (Essex) Club and at County and South of England level. He organized the competitive league structure in the South of England over the period 1969 -2004. He served on the English Lacrosse Association (ELA) Board from its inception in 1997 until 2016. Prior to that he was on the Board of the men’s organization in England (English Lacrosse Union) and was a prime mover of the merger of the men’s and women’s organizations into a single National Governing Body.

During his time as a senior officer of firstly the English Lacrosse Union and then the English Lacrosse Association, he served on a team of volunteers and professional staff which has overseen significant increases in lacrosse participation in England, particularly in the university and college area. Over his career, English Lacrosse has successfully hosted the 1978, 1994 and 2010 Men’s World Championships, the 2001 Women’s World Cup and the 1999 Men’s and Women’s European Championships.

In the pre-FIL days, he was the Secretary / Treasurer of the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) over the periods 1975-78 and 1990-94.

In 2006 he was asked to join the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations (IFWLA) / ILF Unification Board which later became the Transition Board leading to the formation of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). In 2008 he was elected as the FIL Board member responsible for Finance and has also continued with the Men’s Competition role.


Media Contact: Darryl Seibel

Phone: 719-374-5546


About World Lacrosse

World Lacrosse is the international federation for men’s and women’s lacrosse, responsible for providing effective leadership and governance of the sport internationally while supporting the continued growth of lacrosse worldwide. In November 2018, World Lacrosse was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The President of World Lacrosse is Sue Redfern of England.