Door Opens for Iroquois to Move Into Blue Division

Door Opens for Iroquois to Move Into Blue Division

The 28 full-member nations of the Federation of International Lacrosse have rejected a proposal by the FIL Board of Directors to keep FIL bylaw 11.1 as stated, opening the door for the Iroquois Nationals to play in the top division of the 2014 FIL Men's World Championship.

“It's been portrayed almost as an us against them and that was never the case,” said FIL President Stan Cockerton. “For the FIL it was always about the rules. The members have clearly said that the rules were not adequate in this case.”

Due to passport issues, the Iroquois Nationals did not participate in the 2010 FIL Men's World Championship in Manchester, England. FIL bylaw 11.1 dictated that a team is seeded for the world championship based on their performance at the previous world championship. Technically, by accepting a 1-0 forfeit in each of their games in 2010, the Iroquois placed 30th at the 2010 championship.

The Iroquois finished fourth in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 world championships, but based on their placing in the 2010 championship, they were not among the six teams in the Blue Division when the FIL released the draw for that division in late April.

The Iroquois were first notified they would not be in the Blue Division in January, and they appealed that decision to the FIL Board of Directors, which upheld the original ruling. The Iroquois then issued a second appeal, this time to the FIL general assembly, in April. The 28 full-member nations had to vote by June 9 whether or not to keep FIL bylaw 11.1 as stated.

Cockerton feels that with the members rejecting the decision to keep the bylaw intact, it sends a pretty clear message about where the Iroquois should be seeded.

“We have to find a way to get the Iroquois in the Blue Division,” said Cockerton. “Hopefully we can do that in a way that's a win-win for everyone and the sport.”

Cockerton said that a group consisting of representatives from the Men’s Competition Committee and representatives from Canada (neutral Blue Division country), Germany (sixth place finisher at 2010 championship), Iroquois and the United States (host country) will be formed to make a final decision.

“Once we get all of the countries confirmed, we'll send out a list of options that we've looked at over the last six months and ask for other possible suggestions,” said Cockerton. “We'll make the final decision when we meet face-to-face.”

That face-to-face meeting is expected to take place during the 2013 FIL Women’s World Cup in Oshawa, Canada, which runs from July 9-20.

“We're looking to move forward in a positive way,” said Cockerton. “There are no ill-feelings from us. We want to go into these discussions with an open mind.”

A record total of as many as 40 nations are expected to compete in the 2014 FIL Men’s World Championship, which will take place July 10-19, 2014 and will be hosted by US Lacrosse at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver. Tickets are on sale now.