Following the announcement that English Lacrosse has withdrawn from hosting the 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championships, Chief Executive, Mark Coups has sought to provide further information to address some potential questions regarding the decision to withdraw.
How have circumstances led to a withdrawal?
The 2018 FIL Men’s World Championships is an enormous event for an organisation the size of English Lacrosse to undertake and to meet this challenge the planning of the event was started at an early stage.
The planning clearly identified risks to be closely monitored and this risk assessment was done on a regular basis.
The key risk identified was the financial exposure of English Lacrosse in both budget and cashflow terms.
The knowledge provided by our budget planning for the 2017 women’s event has allowed us to gain a clearer understanding of the financial model required to host a World event at the current time and this financial insight was increasingly used to assess the risks and inform our decisions.
Recently the financial risk assessment was deemed to be unacceptable for the organisation to continue as hosts for the 2018 World Championships.
We wanted and were committed to delivering a world class event and I felt that English Lacrosse has a responsibility to the lacrosse community for staging a world class event. As soon as it became apparent that this was not going to be possible on the required scale, we immediately informed the FIL to give them every opportunity to find a host that is in the position to host a world class event.
When were concerns first raised regarding potential problems with hosting 2018?
All major events of the size of the 2018 World Championships have concerns and a management structure was in place to ensure that issues were identified, discussed and mitigated against or resolved.
Financial information gained from the 2017 World Cup, to be hosted in Guildford, informed the 2018 budget further and it became increasingly apparent that there was a major financial risk associated with the 2018 event. In early 2017, budgets were regularly interrogated and revised to try and mitigate the risks. The EL board concluded that this level of financial risk was unacceptable and potentially put the sport in this country at serious jeopardy, deciding that the time had to come to withdraw.
FIL were notified of our intention to withdraw in March and negotiations were undertaken with these concluding in the FIL accepting the withdrawal and the announcements last week being made.
How was the financial risk assessed?
The risk was assessed by professional finance staff and key volunteers in the management board and the Finance Audit and Risk Committee of English Lacrosse who then reported their findings to the English Lacrosse board.
How are you ensuring that these decisions are well-informed and in the best interests of English Lacrosse?
The organisation has made significant changes to its governance structures over the last 12 months to create a modern, game reflective, decision-making structure.
The creation of a National Lacrosse Committee, Finance, Audit and Risk Committee and a Performance Committee with designated groups assigned to manage specific projects such as the world event, supporting a more independent, business board has contributed to this modern, game reflective structure.
The relevant parts of this structure were involved in making the decision on the withdrawal from hosting the 2018 World Championships.
Is there any final message you would like to give the lacrosse community?
I am bitterly disappointed that we have had to withdraw as hosts and I understand that this is disappointing for the whole lacrosse community to miss out on a home World Championships; however, I am confident that, due to the serious financial threat it could have placed us under, it is the right decision for the future of the organisation.
I will be joining SEMLA’s monthly CGM on Monday 8 May and attending the NWLA AGM on Tuesday 9 May to discuss any further questions you may have.