FIL Vote Would Put Iroquois In, Germany Out of Blue Division
|German goalie Philipp Maas directs traffic during a 2010 FIL World Championship contest in Manchester, England. © John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com|
The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) on Saturday released a postal ballot to its member nations that if accepted would restore the Iroquois Nationals' place in the Blue Division of the 2014 FIL World Championship as a one-time exception to its existing bylaw on championship structure and relegate Germany to a lower division despite its sixth-place finish in 2010.
According to the existing FIL bylaw (11.1), the Iroquois Nationals' absence from the 2010 world championship in Manchester, England, due to a dispute over their Haudenosaunee-issued passports — and the resultant forfeiture of their games — would have placed them 30th and left them out of the top flight for the 2014 world championship in Denver.
Only the top six teams from the previous world championship gain entry into the Blue Division, where the Iroquois had been a fixture alongside the U.S. and Canada until 2010. Germany replaced the Iroquois and finished in sixth place.
When the FIL released the 2014 brackets in April, Germany was in and the Iroquois were out of the Blue Division, which also will include Australia, England and Japan.
The Iroquois appealed that decision twice and in June solicited enough support from the FIL General Assembly that the member nations rejected the original proposal by the FIL Board of Directors to uphold the bylaw as stated. While the decision opened the door for the Iroquois to move back into the Blue Division, it also forced the FIL to reexamine its championship structure.
"The Board interpretation of that vote was that the membership wished to see the Iroquois Nationals play in the Blue Division at the 2014 World Championship. Since that time there has been extensive research and discussion on different options to try and meet the needs of all parties," FIL President Stan Cockerton wrote in a letter to members. "Giving due regard to the needs of the World Championship host organization (US Lacrosse), with the championship being only eight months away, and not wishing to place other participants in a disadvantageous position, we have concluded that the most appropriate and the only viable way forward is to retain the current championship structure."
The FIL considered expanding the Blue Division or staging a play-in game, but neither option proved viable, Cockerton added. Germany could still qualify for the medal round through the existing play-in playoff structure.
"We do have considerable sympathy with Germany...but we have to move forward and recognize the views of the members," the letter said.
The postal ballot, which requires a two-thirds vote to pass and is due Dec. 1, also states that the FIL will consider long-term modification to the bylaw at the meeting of its general assembly in July 2014. Only the 28 full-member nations may cast a vote.
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