World Lacrosse is the highest governing body for Lacrosse, overseeing regional and international development and management of international competitions, while maintaining the integrity of the sport throughout all age levels and genders. There are four variations of the game and these include field lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, box lacrosse and intercrosse. The responsibilities for World Lacrosse lie with field lacrosse, women’s lacrosse and box lacrosse, with each version having different rules or equipment. The organization was renamed in May 2019 after initially operating under the name of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). FIL was formed in 2008 when the men’s governing body (International Lacrosse Federation) merged with the women’s governing body (International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Federations). World Lacrosse sponsor five world championships played every four years.
Starting with field lacrosse (outdoor) and box lacrosse (indoor), these are the men’s versions of the game and are full contact. Players are required to wear protective gear that include helmets, gloves, shoulder pads and elbow pads. Field lacrosse have ten players in each team, while box lacrosse have six per team. The indoor version is played on artificial turf in an arena. This version of the game mainly developed in the 1930s from owners of ice hockey arenas wanting to use their locations in the off-season. It grew so fast that it nearly became more popular than field lacrosse. The women’s version is always played outdoors and the only required protective gear are eyewear and mouthguards. This may vary slightly within different member nations, but it is ultimately World Lacrosse who decide on the rules and what sets the standards during International competitions and world championships. Goalies will always wear helmets and protective pads. The only contact allowed in the women’s version is stick checking. Lacrosse is a team sport and players use the head of a lacrosse stick to pass, carry, catch and shoot a solid rubber ball.
The sport developed from games played by various Native American groups back to as far as 1100 AD. By the seventeenth century a version of lacrosse was established over many parts of north America and especially the territory now known as Canada. It was the aboriginal Canadian version that could easily consist of up to a thousand men on a field several miles long and lasting for up to three days. These games played a significant role in the religious life of the tribes adding to their role as warriors bringing honour and a combat spirit to their involvement. Anglophones from Montréal witnessed the game being played by Mohawk people and started playing it themselves. It is from these beginnings that the sport has now grown rapidly across Canada, United States, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and East Asia.