Wednesday, 30 September 2009

US cavalry arrives

Just 9 months to go to 2010 World Championships!!

Such a lot to do and a lot of big decisions still to make . This weeks toughie is how many seats to put around the stadium field where all the big games will take place. We had always thought that 5,000 would be more than enough, and it probably will be for most days, but the high rate of sign up for the FIL Festival is making us think again. With 30 teams still being the planning figure for the World Championships this means that we have to find a guaranteed 1,000 seats for players, coaches, officials and VIPs. However we have neary 70 teams already registered for the Festival , and with Festival teams being offered an upgrade from their Festival pass to an all games pass that means a possible 2,000 other seats are taken , leaving only2,000 other seats for the supporters and fans. If only half the Festival players bring another person with them and the Championship players each bring one person be it family. friends or supporters than that is all the seats taken care of and there could be a scenario where Final and even Semi Final tickets do not go on general sale .

Season tickets (all game passes) have just gone on sale so the message we have to get out is buy early , not only to take advantage of the early bird discount but also to make sure you get a ticket for one of Lacrosse'e great games.

International Lacrosse is continuing to grow and only this week English Lacrosse voted to accept Mexico as the latest member of the FIL so may be they will make it to Manchester. Some of the European nations have yet to register their intention to play but we know that France (they have just played in the Celtic Cup in Edinburgh), Spain and Norway have recently taken part in international tournaments. We have heard that Argentina are holding practices and it would be good to see South American teams in action . We suspect that Costa Rica and Guatamala , who have just played their first game are not ready for top level play but maybe next time , particularly if US are confirmed as 2014 hosts.

The work still to do is prodigious amount of work to do but we have just had a new recruit in the ELA office. Sarah Oglesby has just joined us from US Lacrosse where she headed their major events team and she will probably be familiar to those who attend the Coaches Convention in Jan in US. Sarah was the lead organiser of the 2005 Women's World Cup in Annapolis and has lots of experience of big events so she will be a tremendous asset to us. We have all been telling her what a great city Manchester is so she has come to find out. If you bump into Sarah around please make her welcome and ask her about the World Championships.

The new season has just started and it is a little scary to think it will be the last before the World championships.

Monday, 7 September 2009

It feels like we have a big event on our hands!

You definitely get the feeling that we have a big event on our hands. We have often said , perhaps with a slight bit of tongue in cheek, that the FIL 2010 Men's Lacrosse World Champonship will be the biggest sports event to be held in Manchester since the Commonwealth games in 2002.

However, with over 1,000 players and officials in the Championship , around 3,000 possible entrants in the Festival, some 40,000 spectators expected and an economic impact on the region of around £7,000,000 no-one is able to tell me which event has been bigger than Lacrosse will be.

What is really exciting is that the planning figures that we worked on 4 years ago are becoming more and more realistic . We are seeing continuing growth in international Lacrosse and it is exciting to here of Costa Rica playing Guatamala , and although these two in particular will probably not make it to Manchester it is certain that there will be 26-28 teams taking part. Equally exciting is that we set a target of 64 teams in the eight Divisions of the FIL Festival and it looks very much as if that number , at least, will be achieved. With nearly 10 months to go we have 45 teams registered to play and another 18 showing serious interest. The message is clear -if you want to be part of 2010 then you need to make sure that you have secured your spot.

Since the Official Event Launch in July we now have season tickets on sale at special "early bird" discount prices ; a range of World Championship merchandise for sale on the web and travel and hotel deals available through our travel partner ATP.

The real worry is becoming that given we have a big event on our hands can we actually make it into a great event which showcases top class Lacrosse, gives every one in Lacrosse the chance to enjoy a memorable lifetime experience and make a lot of money to reinvest in the game. It certainly can be done but it will only happen if we can get more money to invest in the event from funders and sponsors and enthuse a committed team of volunteers. Over the next couple of months we will be starting a drive to recruit the volunteer team we will need and which will be the key to the success of 2010 .

We do have a really big event on our hands and with a bit of luck and an awful lot of hardwork it could be a great event.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Time flies

The speed at which the World championships are approaching is becoming terrifying.
We are now just over 10 months away and the work to be done just seems to increase.

Luckily things seem to be falling into place. Work is advancing well at the university on replacing the astro turfs . The new surfaces will be excellent and perfect for top class Lacrosse.
We are finalising the details for release of the tickets which should be before the end of the month and our travel partner ATP will be going live any time now. To mark the launch of ticket sales we will be offering a hefty discount on season tickets which are bought before 18th Oct.

There is also a growing amount of interest in the Festival with about 65% of the available entry slots already spoken for and a lot of interest from North America. The Festival could be fully subscribed by Xmas!!

We have a lot of concerns as to how the grass pitches will stand upto so many games particularly if the weather is bad (It never rains in Manchester in July!!) however during the recent deluges we have been keeping an eye on the fields at the Firs and they have really been in excellent condition-seeming to drain exceptionally well.

We are just starting our campaign for sponsorship and in this economic climate that will not be easy but we are putting togather packages for every budget from a few hundred pounds to many thousands.

The Steering Group which has been meeting for three years is planning to step up its activity which is a sure sign that things are getting hectic.

The big job at the moment is looking at the number of volunteers which will be wanted for the event -truly frightening . We are currently writing job descriptions for the many roles which will need to be done . Some will be Lacrosse specific and some will be of a more general nature and will possibly need people who have expereince of previous events and there is a strong core of M/c volunteers which is a legacy of the commonwealth Games. We need to be ready to look for our volunteer force hwen the season starts at the end of September.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Now we are really on our way

This time next year we will be in the middle of the FIL World Championships. Hope the weather is better than it was in Prague and better than it has been in Manchester over the last few weeks . However. our nervous visits to the Armitage Centre, have at least shown how well drained the University fields but wall to wall sunshine next year would be good . I thought we were supposed to be experiencing global warming.

Another piece of good news from the University is that work has started on replacing the two ATP pitches . Alison Odell, the Director of Sport has done a great job getting this project off the ground , particularly in this economic climate. So we will have top class facilities to play on.

On Tuesday we had the official launch of 2010 at Manchester Town Hall . There was a great turn out with over 100 invited guests who saw English Lacrosse Co- President Claire Stoote hand over the FIL Flag which she received in Prague to Manchester City Council Head of Leisure , Eamonn O'Rourke.

Co President David Marsden led the event and their was a presentation update from CEO David Shuttleworth. Coach Dave Elwood pointed out to everyone how the lack of funding from UK Sport is hampering the team's preparation. How an organisation can have so much money and perform so incompetently is amazing.

Henry Vardon from the national champion Hale Prep POP team represented the players of tomorrow and members of the England squad represented the team of 2010. They did an impressively professional job (even though they have no money!) and were a real cedit to the sport.

The launch created a big buzz amongst all those who attended . It is now a matter of keeping the momentum going . If we do we will have a great event next year.

Congratulations to Caroline Royle and ELA staff on a really good job.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Well done Prague -Manchester is next!!

At the end of an excellently organised World Cup the Prague organisers handed on the FIL flag to English Lacrosse co-president Claire Stoot who invited everyone to Manchester in 2010।
It is quite scary to think that the Manchester World Championship is next and is only a year away.

One of the big changes which has been highlighted by the formation of FIL is that when international competition started back in 1967 it was only every 4 years. Then the World Cup started in 1982 but there were separate NGBs for Men and Women so you still felt it was a 4 year gap between events. Now English Lacrosse is a joint NGB and the international GB is joint so we have World Championships every year -not to mention Europeans!

2010 Men's World championship
2011 Women's U19 and Men's Indoor
2012 Men's U19 and M & W Europeans
2013 Women's World cup
2014 Men's World Champs -(again!!)
Balancing elite competition with the domestic game will be a real challenge going forward.

An English Lacrosse team of Alan Holdsworth , Caroline Royle and David Shuttleworth travelled to Prague to update the FIL Board Meeting on the progress being made to host 2010. Hopefully they were reassured that arrangments were well in hand but appreciated the tremendous financial pressures that were being created by the current economic situation.

The Czechs did a great job organising a successful World Cup and coped superbly with the awful weather which not only made the grass fields unplayable but also caused game disruption for lightening breaks. Manchester definitely needs a Plan B although of course it never rains in Manchester in July!

The Slavia Prague facility was excellent with accomodation close to the grounds and ATPs to take games when the grass became unusable. Food and drink on site was readily available so you could enjoy a good days Lacrosse. The Gold and silver medal games were moved to the modern 40,000 seat Slavia Prague football stadium. The 2,500 fans who turned up made enough noise for it not to feel too empty.

US won the Gold Medal beating holders Australia 8-7 in a thrilling final which was perhaps too influenced by umpiring decisions . Officiating is becoming a major problem for many sports as well as Lacrosse . In the final the two big screens in the stadium carried the TV coverage of the games along with the dreaded replays whci allow every decision to be examined.

The England team was probably the best prepared we have ever sent to a World Cup but unfortunately we lost to Canada in the Bronze medal game, dropping to 4th in the World ranking. The game was lost in the first 10 mins when failure to convert chances combined with top class Canadian goal keeping saw us go 0-4 down when the score could easily have been 3-3-and what a different game that could have been!

It is obvious that, over the next few years at least, international competition is going to be dominated by women who play or have played in the US college game; all the US team , most of the Canadian team and key members of Australia have all come through US colleges.

We are also going to see a drive for significant rule changes. The crystal ball says goggles at least -possible helmets, 10 a side, no stand , different penalty system. If we do not want Women's Lacrosse to become men's Lacrosse played by women then change will have to be managed sensitively.

Back to Manchester. The next big event is the official launch of Manchester 2010 which will take place in Manchester Town Hall on Tuesday 21st July. Tickets will go on sale with a special "early bird "offer ; the 2010 range of merchandise will be released and opening games will be announced. Then we will definitely know we are only a year away.

Exciting news on getting back to the office was to find more teams signed up for the Festival including "The Devils" from South Korea. Already over 50% of the spots have been taken in the FIL Festival.

Friday, 19 June 2009

The world has changed-again

Spent yesterday afternoon watching England play USA in Prague in the Womens' World Cup. All on the internet . Excellent- is this the end of TV as we know it ?This way of watching games is a must for 2010.

Following their win over Australia at Cobham there is a lot of interest in how England would do against USA. The first half was tremendous with the game tied at 6-6 at the break. In the second half US power prevailed and they ran out 17-8 winners.

In the 1978 Men's World championship England went down by a single goal to USA with Paul Smith playing an epic game. The game was old style 12 a side wooden stick Lacrosse to 10 a side rules. In 1982 I went to the World Championships in Baltimore and within 5 mins knew that the game had changed beyond all recognition . We had entered the era of the plastic stick where defencemen could handle long poles and were athletes who played agressive , all over the field, lacrosse. That process has continued and watching recent visitors Loyola play England agressive lacrosse is played by athletic middies all over the field. This was not the Premiership. Time for 16 man squads?

Yesterday, in Prague , it was very clear that womens Lacrosse is no longer the pretty game that attracted Queeen Victoria. It is all about power, athleticism and all over the field aggression. The US players , brought up D1 College Lacrosse, are taking us to a new game which is fast, exciting , and very , very physical. The world will never be the same again.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

It is only next year

In less than 13months we will be into the Manchester Men's World Lacrosse Championship and preparations are going well to make it a great event. We have the venue sorted and are more than hopeful that despite all the budgetry constraints that Man Univ are finalising the arrangements to relay the two ATPs.

We are looking towards 26-30 nations taking part but with Guatemala playing Costa Rica in a few weeks and contact with Mexico and Puerto Rica who knows how many nations we may end up with.

Entries to the FIL Festival are also looking very encouraging with an entry today from Florida into the FIL Elite tournament . We have a capacity of about 60 teams in the Festival and already have 32 signed up so signs are positive.

The big issue as ever is funding for the event.

We have just had an economic impact survey carried out by an independent sports consultancy which anticipates that the economic benfit to the UK economy will be in the region of £6.700,000 and with the right level of support and promotion could be well over £8,000,000, making it the biggest event in Manchester since the Commonwealth Games.

However, the body reponsible for funding major events , UK Sport has refused to fund the World Lacrosse Championships despite providing £250,000 for a netball event in Manchester which is not even an official championship and £150,000 for the Women's Rugby World Championship. The sense of grievance continues to grow and the battle will continue. We have recieved a lot of support from politicians particularly Ann Coffey , Paul Goggins and Graham Brady who are all Manchester based MPs. This week we have recived a message from Grham Brady's office saying he will be putting his full weight behind Lacrosse in the run up to the World Championships.

Friday, 29 May 2009


GREG Caplin, the England manager, and his players are relishing the chance to test themselves against top American college side Loyola Greyhounds next week.

The Division One men's NCAA lacrosse team landed in Edinburgh today (Friday) ahead of a ten-day tour which will see them play fixtures in Scotland, England and Ireland.

And for England, who are building towards next year's 2010 World Cup in Manchester (10-24 July), these two scheduled matches provide the perfect opportunity for the current 45-strong squad to impress before the squad gets cut to around 30 players by October.

"It's going to be a really good test for the players, it's a chance to watch and learn from some of the top American players," revealed Caplin.

"We can learn from the intensity in which they play because they are at the cutting edge of the sport. That experience is worth it's weight in gold."

And with the World Cup little over a year away Caplin and head coach Dave Elwood have resisted the temptation to pick their strongest team to make sure of victory.

Instead England are hoping to give as many players as possible the chance to shine and enhance their claim for a place in the final 28-man team.

"We're looking to cut the squad to about 30 players by October and then pick a final 23-man squad nearer the tournament," added Caplin.

"We're probably going to have five reserves, but we don't have to name our squad until the last night before the event.

"But these two matches are important for us, it's a chance to see how well we're playing.

"We played a couple of matches against a Canadian touring side last month, which was good, but this is probably our first really competitive match for a while.

"It's a good chance for the players to step up and impress us. We played Loyola last time we toured America and we found it to be a very beneficial experience.

"The Americans are always superb and you can watch and learn a lot from them."

Loyola face Scotland at the Peffermill Sports Centre tomorrow with the Scots fielding two different teams, before the US side journey to Cheshire to take on England in two matches at Wilmslow Lacrosse Club.

The first of those games is on Monday 1st June, 6.30pm on grass, followed by an astroturf fixture at the same venue two days later, Wednesday 3rd June, 7.00pm face off.

The Greyhounds complete their tour with a match against an Irish Select team at University City College, Dublin, on Saturday 6th June.

Note to editors - for more information on English Lacrosse visit

Also why not visit the official Manchester 2010 World Cup site as the excitement builds ahead of next year's tournament

And our social networking sites -, and

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Largest World Lacrosse Championships yet...

It seems like we have been planning the FIL 2010 World Lacrosse Championships for ever.
By we, I mean the two or three people who work at the English Lacrosse Association and the 16 volunteers who sit on various committees. The event has always been far away, not close enough to really worry or add meat to any of the organisational bones. That has now changed. We are nearing the twelve month mark and although we have a logo, venue, website, event management company, additional festival and legacy programme it feels as though we have been cooling out heels with much still to be completed.

For those that don't know the 2010 FIL World Lacrosse Championships is the 10th men's World Lacrosse Championships, and the third Championship to be held in Manchester, UK. Due the explosion of Lacrosse in Europe the Championships will have the most nations ever competing in it - a possible 31 over 10 days!

Though we have received support, of which we are very greatful, from the North West Development Agency, Manchester City Council, Foundation of sport and arts, Harrow and Piggot and Whitfield. The luxury of UK Sport funding, additional event staff and big name sponsors have not been forthcoming. Making the task of creating a viable and memorable event more difficult- but still achievable!