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World Lacrosse: Thoughts on FIL Rebranding

Earlier this week, the governing body for international lacrosse renamed and rebranded itself, moving to their new name, World Lacrosse (WL), from the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). World Lacrosse made the announcement at a meeting of Sport Accord in Australia, they released a written announcement to the international community, and they did a good job of explaining the change, and why it’s a step forward for the international game.

At the same time, when there is a change like this, there are very often more questions than answers, so here are my thoughts on the rebranding effort, why it was done, and what it means moving forward for the world of international lacrosse.

Why Change The Name To World Lacrosse At All?

The vision for growing lacrosse into a truly international game has been around for a long time, and over the years, a lot of steps have been taken to reach this goal. For example, in 2007, the FIL did not exist. The men’s game was managed by the ILF, and the women’s game was managed by the IFWLA. In 2008, the two groups came together to form the FIL under one board, and one roof. This was a huge step in bringing all of the different versions of the game under one set of leadership, and it created the first ever singular governing body for international lacrosse.

For about 11 years, the FIL name ruled the roost and most people rallied behind it. The only problem with the FIL name would come up in the next steps of the governing body’s evolutionary process – gaining admission to the Olympic Games.

It turns out that each Olympic sport must have a shortened name that can be used to represent the governing body, and while FIL fits that mold, the three-letter name was already taken by the Federation of International Luge. If international lacrosse wanted to continue down the Olympic path, a name change was in order. Enter World Lacrosse.

World Lacrosse is a big change from the FIL, but World Lacrosse is not a completely new naming style for an international governing body. World Sailing and World Archery both come to mind as existing and popular Olympic examples of the “World (Sport)” moniker. And now when the governing body hosts world championship events, they can just be called the World Lacrosse Championships. It’s simple and it works!

Beyond that, I believe we are going to see some big changes from World Lacrosse moving forward, so a name and logo change make sense to mark the big shift underway. We have already seen new rules proposed for the Olympic version of the game, continued growth and presence on the world stage, and additional development work to push the game forward. A new name is not only necessary, but it’s also fitting given the proposed trajectory.

world lacrosse - international federation for lacrosse

Personally, I like it. It will look good on a shirt or hat, and it’s very much in line with other modern international governing body sporting logos. There is some interesting meaning behind the logo, and it’s worth reading up on that HERE. From an aesthetic standpoint I am a fan of its simplicity. It’s clearly a lacrosse stick holding a ball that is also the Earth. The Olympic colors are all there, which means the World Lacrosse logo has at least one color from every flag of every member nation, so it’s also pretty inclusive.

When it comes to the text, it’s a good blend of edgy and legible. It’s tempting to go truly weird or wild, but if you can’t read it, what good does it do? And if it’s too boring, it slips from memory quickly. The World Lacrosse text is clean and simple, but also has a stylized aspect to it, which makes it memorable.

What Does This Mean For The Future?

The brand name, logo design, and logo colors make it very clear that the Olympics will be a huge part of future development goals for World Lacrosse. The logo and name also speak to another element in our game, and in all world games, which is even more important, and that is cohesiveness.

Although a small sport, lacrosse has long been a divided game. Whether it was First Nations players being barred from competition, or disagreements over pro vs amateur status in Canada, or the largest stick factory burning down, or reckless violence turning people off in the US, lacrosse has often been held back the most by its own members. The sport was even played in the Olympics in the past, but couldn’t hold on to the spot and grow.

The sport has been poised for success and growth before, but more often than not factions inside have fought over crumbs instead of baking a bigger pie. In order for the sport to elevate itself, the community will be required to come together, find reconciliation on big issues and problems, and act as one unified body. While the name and logo for World Lacrosse are just that – a name and a logo – they also speak to something that is incredibly important for future success, and is clearly on the mind of World Lacrosse.

Divided, the sport of lacrosse will fail again. United, lacrosse can truly be a wonderful world sport. The new logo and name for World Lacrosse suggest that is the path forward, now the real work begins to ensure that it comes to fruition.

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