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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?