Israel on Tuesday was officially announced as the host nation for the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Men’s World Lacrosse Championships. The city of Netanya, halfway along the seashore between Tel Aviv and Haifa, was picked to host the sport’s main competition that will include 50 participating countries and more than 5,000 fans from all over the world, July 12-21, next summer.
Israel’s opportunity to host the World Lacrosse Championship comes following the Israeli team’s recent success in the international arena. Israeli teams have competed in every FIL and European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) event since their debut in 2012, winning second place in the 2016 European championship and seventh place in the most recent World Championship in 2014.
Meanwhile, Israel has become the sport’s fastest growing nation, with eight competing cities and hundreds of players up and down the country, which placed the Jewish State as one of the leading candidates for the World Championship in 2018.
After Manchester, England had withdrawn from hosting the World Championship, Israel stepped in and submitted its first-ever bid to host the games in Netanya. This is the very first time since the competition’s inception in 1967 that a country outside the US, Canada, the UK and Australia has hosted the Championship, which signifies a major expansion of the sport globally. The 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships is also set to be the largest event of its kind ever, with 50 participating countries, trumping the 2014 total of 38 in Denver, Colorado.
Netanya was chosen to host the event based on the city’s achievements in hosting a variety of international competitions, including the European Swimming Championships, World Surfing Championships, international tennis tournaments and European Football Championships.
“It’s a true honor and testament to the Israel Lacrosse Association, our Board, our Membership and our Supporters that we are to be hosting the sport’s pinnacle event next summer,” said Scott Neiss, Executive Director of the Israel Lacrosse Association. “The success of Israel Lacrosse both internationally, that sees us ranked seventh in the world and the domestic infrastructure we’ve established at grassroots level here in Israel, put us in good standing when submitting our bid to host the FIL World Championships and we’re delighted to showcase our country, our facilities, and the spirit of Israel to the world.”
“Netanya is proud to host the World Lacrosse Championship in the summer of 2018 for the first time in Israel and for the first time outside of English-speaking countries,” Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar said in a statement. “Netanya is honored to be the first to instill a new tradition in the lacrosse enterprise. I’m happy about the success of the Israeli league in the international arena and thank the Lacrosse Association for choosing us to be the host city.”