World Lacrosse now has a total of 85 members after the addition of six countries ©World Lacrosse

World Lacrosse's membership has now risen to 85 after Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Malta, Sierra Leone and Togo joined the International Federation.

The six-member group is the largest single addition to World Lacrosse’s membership since August 2008 and the second-largest addition dating back to 1974.

World Lacrosse has now welcomed 12 members since the start of 2022, a boost to its campaign to end its 120-year absence from the Olympic programme and return for Los Angeles 2028.

"Welcoming six members at once is a hallmark achievement for World Lacrosse and we are excited for these nations to join our global community," World Lacrosse chief executive Jim Scherr said.

"The development of lacrosse in Africa remains one of our top priorities, and the inclusion of five African nations reflects the exceptional growth and desire to play the game in the region."

The Africa Association of Lacrosse (AAL), formed in 2022, now has 11 members, including seven that joined within the last year.

Before its newest five members, the AAL added Rwanda and Nigeria in June 2022.

The AAL also hosted a successful qualifier for the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship between Uganda and Kenya in November of last year.

"I am pleased to welcome five members at once into our Africa Association of Lacrosse family, as well as the global community," Rufus Ntiamoah, World Lacrosse manager of sport in Africa, said.

"Africa is incredibly diverse, and it is important to see growth in West Africa as the game rapidly develops across the continent.

"I am also proud of the work the AAL has done in a brief time to facilitate such exponential growth."

With the addition of Malta, the European Lacrosse Federation now has 34 members, and its first new member since Lithuania in 2019. 

Malta is the first new member to join the European Lacrosse Federation for four years ©Malta Lacrosse
Malta is the first new member to join the European Lacrosse Federation for four years ©Malta Lacrosse

New members of World Lacrosse have come from all five continents since the start of last year.

The Pan-American Lacrosse Association welcomed Uruguay and Nicaragua and the Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union added Iran and Cambodia.

The past decade has seen nearly a 90 per cent growth in members for World Lacrosse with 40 nations joining the existing membership of 45 nations.

Lacrosse has not appeared in the Olympics since London 1908, when Canada beat Britain for the gold medal.

Canada had also won the gold medal in the sport’s only other previous Olympic appearance at St Louis 1904.

Lacrosse is one of nine sports on the shortlist along with baseball-softball, cricket, breaking, flag football, karate, kick boxing, motor sport and squash for the Los Angeles 2028 programme.