Update – Denver 2014: Iroquois In, Germany Out?
Update: Germany’s GM has said he will “quit lacrosse” if the German men’s team is excluded from the FIL World Championships in Denver this Summer. As noted below in the original article, a vote is out right now to decide who will be in, and who will be out. The FIL has said a seven team Blue Division is not an option. Ballots are due back from Member Nations by December 1st.
Over the last year, much has been made about the Iroquois’ exclusion from the Blue Division at the 2014 World Championships in Denver. So much so that the matter was put to a member vote by the FIL this past June, and the end result was that the Iroquois were re-instated the Blue Division.
ByLaw 11.1 states that the top six finishers from the last FIL games will be in the Blue Division. The Iroquois appealed the ruling, and the member nations supported them. The board interpreted that vote to mean that the member nations wanted to see the Iroquois placed in the Blue Division for 2014.
But the situation doesn’t end there, because it means that either the Blue Division would now host seven teams, instead of six, or that one of the teams from the 2010 games would have to be dropped from the top division. The FIL looked at different options, but in the end, has recommended to retain the current championship structure, where only six teams play in the Blue Division.
ByLaw 11.1, it seems, would still be in effect for the top five teams (US, Canada, Australia, Japan, England) and now the Iroquois join them. This means that Germany will now drop out of the Blue Division, but is still able to qualify for the medal rounds, and a top six placement through the pre-existing “play-in” structure, which allows teams to climb the final rankings. The Germans would now need to do very well in their group for that to happen, but it is still possible.
The FIL’s Stan Cockerton sent out a letter to member and associate nations explaining the recommendation of the FIL Board, and he noted the Board’s sympathy for Germany, who finished sixth in 2010. He also noted that they can still get through to the medal rounds. The recommendation was called “regrettable” by Cockerton himself, but also described as the “only viable way forward” for 2014.
I would be curious to hear more details on why a Seven Team Blue Division was not a viable option, but I also understand that an international oversight body can be slow to implement change, and a lot of change would need to take place (concerning tournament structure, ByLaws, and more) for this to happen. 8 months may simply be too small a window.
The recommendation has gone out to the nations of the FIL, and full member nation votes are due back by December 1st. Until then, expect some discussion and argument. If the members vote to agree, ByLaw 11.1 will be reinstated, with an exemption for 2014 to include the Top 5 teams and the Iroquois. If the recommendation is voted down, the path becomes a bit murkier, and another solution will have to be sought.