Blue Division 2014: Iroquois In, Germany Out


News is starting to hit the wire that the FIL member vote on the Iroquois – Germany proposal has come back in, and that the Iroquois Nationals will be placed back in the Blue Division for the upcoming world lacrosse championships in Denver this Summer while Germany will be bumped out of the Blue Division. The Iroquois did not participate in the 2010 world championships because of passport related travel issues. Germany was brought up to the Blue Division to replace the Nationals.

Typically, seeding for the next Blue Division is dictated by teams’ finishing spots from the previous world championships. By virtue of not showing, the Iroquois would have finished last. The Iroquois appealed that bylaw, and a vote was eventually put out to the FIL’s member nations. The first vote approved an exemption from Bylaw 11.1, which brought the Iroquois back to the Blue Division. The following ballot sent out to member nations proposed moving Germany out of the Blue Division, so that schedules could be maintained, and the membership has now agreed to that proposal as well.

Germany can still qualify for the medal round by doing well in their group, and then knocking off a Blue Division opponent. It is a tough road, but it is possible for Germany to work their way back in to the Blue Division for 2018.

The matter seems to be settled, but I am curious to see how the Germans react to the news. The German GM said he would “quit lacrosse” if this happened, and I hope he does not make good on that threat. Life throws you a curving bouncer from time to time, but if the shot goes in, you don’t quit the game. You just shake it off, and keep fighting.

This has been a tough situation for all involved, and while the solution is far from ideal, it has the potential to show how the lacrosse community can come together, and put personal pride aside in the hopes of doing the right thing overall. I don’t expect Germany to be happy about the outcome here, but I do hope that members of the national program and team can see how this benefits the sport, and how it puts lacrosse above international politics.

The Iroquois were exempted from traveling to England in 2010 by international laws that have nothing to do with lacrosse. The lacrosse community had the ability to right that wrong on some level, and made it happen with these votes. I feel for the Germans in a big way, but also believe this was the closest thing to “right” that could have been done.

In the future, my hope is that this becomes a non-issue because of Blue Division expansion. In 2010 there were about 30 teams, and 6 were in the Blue. In 2014 you will see about 40 teams, so if we stick to the 5-1 ratio of the last event, we should see 8 teams. Hopefully this change is made for the 2018 games, 2014 goes well and Germany sees some success, and then we can put all this behind us. A guy can hope, right?


  1. That’s just bad stuff that is. I can feel for the German GM, you use the Blue Division as a virtue for potential sponsors and then you get to tell them that you got voted out. It was bad to see the Iroquois Nationals get wrapped up in politics in 2010 and what we get to see now are the repercussions of those actions affect a bystander. Lots of stuff to work out before 2018.

  2. The Blue Division is a mess right now. There are so many things that can be improved for 2018 to ensure teams won’t go through the same issues. The bylaws need to be rewritten to make sure there is always a backup plan in case a team cannot represent themselves during a given year for any circumstance.

  3. The complete story would explain a little better why the FIL voted against the Iroquois and why the Germans are upset that the member vote went against them:

    The Iroquois were not denied entry to the UK for passport issues. They were denied entry to the UK if they elected to use their Iroquois passports. They would have been allowed to enter the UK on the passports of the US or Canada (for whom all are citizens), and both countries offered them rushed passports at the time in order to help solve the situation.

    The Iroquois however chose to make a political statement by insisting on the recognition of their Iroquois Passports (which, I support, by the way). However this was a political decision. They knew the costs of that decision going in, and they knew they would be declared the losers of the Blue division by forfeit and that they would be bumped back a division. They also knew that they could still make the final in 2014 in Denver by winning their lower division (which they were sure to do), and playing back in to the Blue division.

    After making this political decision, the Iroquois sought to have their cake (make the political statement) and eat it too (be awarded their spot back into the Blue division). They sought to do that at the expense of a German team who, at the very last possible moment (literally an hour before their first game) stood in for the Iroquois and played at the Blue level, securing their spot in the Blue Level for 2014 by winning a game on the field during the play-in game.

    The FIL followed the rules. The Iroquois appealed to a vote of the members and then played emotional games on countries and people who honor the special standing the Iroquois have within our game to be awarded a spot at the cost of another country.

    The Iroquois and some who support the decision (like the author of this article) want the Germans to accept the decision and ironically attempt to pacify the Germans by ironically pointing out that they could still win their way back into the Blue Division – the very process the Iroquois should have used to rectify the situation that they themselves caused.

  4. Kyle, other than the political issues the passport thing wouldn’t have work for some of them, some are not US or Canadian citizens, the made that choice before any of this happened. The ones that were didn’t necessarily have a passport, as alot of North Americans wouldn’t. The US offered to expedite passports for those eligible, Canada did not. So if they went that way the decision would have been weather or not to leave some of your teammates behind. There passport issue is not their problem its the UK, since then they have traveled to the Cezch Republic and Finland. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2022 after the UK refuses entry in 2018.

    Germany wasn’t even the first choice to move up, Ireland was, if the FIL had followed the rules the Nationals would have forfeited all of their blue division games. It was unfair that they were immediately dropped down. Germany then proceed to win only one game, since then they finished fifth in the European Championships, this is not a team the belongs in the Blue Division. If they hadn’t been moved up , they probably would not be in the blue division now. Germany did the FIL a favor by playing in the blue, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpaid.