The European Championships is the ELF's prime event and takes place once every four years.
The history of the European Championships goes back to 1995 where six nations participated in the first championships which took place in Prague (Czech Republic). The following years annual European Championships were held (with the exception of 1998 where the World Championships took place) but in 2001 it was decided to adopt a four-year cycle in which the European Championship would be held on the even years in between the World Championships. The European Championships 2004 were held in Prague and saw a record number of participating nations (12 men's and 6 women's) and turned out to become the largest international lacrosse event in 2004.
The most recent European Championships were held in August 2008 in Lahti, Finland. It was another record breaking championships with 18 men's teams and 10 women's teams participating. With 28 teams in total at an international tournament, the European Championships 2008 turned out to be the largest international lacrosse tournament in history. The growth is set to continue in Europe and the ELF is looking forward to welcome new as well as "old" lacrosse nations at the European Championships 2012 - to be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
European Newcomers Championship
Due to the rapid growth of lacrosse in Europe the past few years, an initiative was taken by Austria to host a European Newcomers Championships in 2003. This was to give new lacrosse nations a chance to participate in lacrosse at the international level and prepare themselves for the entry to the European Championships. The 2003 tournament which included men's national teams from six new lacrosse nations was followed up by a similar event for women in 2005 where Copenhagen, Denmark, hosted the second European Newcomers Championships. Again, 6 nations participated and proved that the current growth of lacrosse in Europe encompasses both the men's as well as the women's lacrosse.
European Newcomers Championships are set up according to the need and will continue as long as lacrosse continues to expand into new countries throughout Europe. The ELF supports previous as well as future European Newcomers Championships which are seen as an important milestone for new nations in their development of lacrosse.