By Matt Dasilva | Fuel | September 7, 2020 | Reprinted from uslaxmagazine.com
The Iroquois Nationals have accepted an invitation to compete in the men’s lacrosse competition at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Ala., signaling a victory in the six-week campaign to reverse an earlier decision to exclude them due to Olympic eligibility criteria. An online petition garnered more than 50,000 signatures and reignited the conversation surrounding the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
The International World Games Association, The World Games 2022 Birmingham Organizing Committee and World Lacrosse issued a joint press release Monday announcing the news. Ireland’s voluntary withdrawal from the event helped make way for the Iroquois’ inclusion, as did the absence of any objections from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the Canadian Olympic Committee, US Lacrosse and the Canadian Lacrosse Association — the four governing bodies for which Iroquois athletes would otherwise be eligible to compete under the Olympic charter.
An Olympic-style event with multiple sports, The World Games first featured lacrosse with a women’s competition in Poland in 2017. The U.S. defeated Canada for the gold medal. The 2022 edition will be held July 7-17, 2022 in Birmingham, Ala., and includes men’s lacrosse for the first time. The eight teams will be Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, the Iroquois Nationals, Israel, Japan and the U.S.
The World Games are viewed as an important stepping stone on the path to the Olympics, with advocates hoping to get the sport added for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
The press release (below) also included an update on the selection event for the women’s competition. Previously, participants were chosen based on the final standings of the 2017 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship. But since The World Games were moved from 2021 to 2022 in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship will now determine the eight teams. US Lacrosse is hosting that event July 7-17, 2021 in Towson, Md.
World Lacrosse, in cooperation with the International World Games Association (IWGA) and The World Games 2022 Birmingham Organizing Committee (TWG 2022), announced today the field of eight teams that will compete in men’s lacrosse at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. In alphabetical order, the participating teams are:
The selection of teams is based upon the final placement of eligible teams from the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse (now known as World Lacrosse) World Championship in Netanya, Israel.
The men’s lacrosse competition will be July 8-12, 2022 and will feature the new World Lacrosse 6 v 6 discipline.
The field of participating teams was finalized following:
• Confirmation from the IWGA that the Iroquois Nationals are eligible to compete in TWG 2022;
• Receipt by World Lacrosse of “no objection” letters from the Canadian Olympic Committee,
• Canadian Lacrosse Association, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and US Lacrosse;
• Ireland Lacrosse voluntarily withdrawing from the tournament;
• World Lacrosse extending an invitation to the Iroquois Nationals to compete, and;
• Acceptance of the invitation by the Iroquois Nationals
“This is a very good day, and outcome, for the sport of lacrosse,” said World Lacrosse President Sue Redfern. “We have arrived at an outcome that will create a true showcase for lacrosse at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham. This was achieved by our organizations coming together, listening carefully and working constructively to reach a shared goal.”
“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the leadership of the International World Games Association, The World Games 2022 Birmingham Organizing Committee, Ireland Lacrosse and the Iroquois Nationals for their partnership and support in working toward an outcome about which we can all be pleased,” added World Lacrosse Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “International sport has the power to unite and that has never been more evident than in how our organizations and the lacrosse community came together to find a solution.”
“We thank World Lacrosse for their work in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion,” said Joachim Gossow, Chief Executive Officer of the International World Games Association. “In addition, we note that Team Ireland has sportingly agreed to withdraw in favor of the Iroquois Nationals team. We are happy to see the eight best men’s teams qualified and look forward to seeing both women’s and men’s top-quality lacrosse in Birmingham in 2022.”
“The World Games 2022 Birmingham Organizing Committee has great appreciation for the actions taken by the International World Games Association, World Lacrosse, and most recently Team Ireland in creating a path forward under the qualification rules for the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team,” said Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022 Birmingham. “This solution represents the best of humanity, as their collective leadership will now allow for the eight highest-ranked and eligible teams in the world to compete for gold in July of 2022.”
Sellers continued, “Birmingham, Ala. has long been an epicenter of America’s civil rights struggle, and we are proud that The World Games 2022 will usher in a new era of progress where our strength comes from mutual respect and our commitment to inclusion. The actions taken today reflect those values. Welcome to The World Games 2022 Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team. We look forward to seeing you compete.”
“Our goal is to share lacrosse with the world, as a vehicle for peace, friendship, and healing. On this foundation, equity, justice, and unity can be firmly seated. We worked very hard alongside our allies for this positive outcome,” Leo Nolan, Executive Director of Iroquois Nationals said. “We are thankful for their support throughout the process, as well as the support of organizations, coaches, players, and fans in the global lacrosse community who stood up for our right to be included in The World Games 2022. Most of all, we wish to express our deep gratitude to Ireland Lacrosse: their selfless decision symbolizes the reverence we share for the game of lacrosse.”
Also today, World Lacrosse confirmed the top eight eligible women’s teams based upon final placement in the 2021 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship will be invited to participate in The World Games 2022.The women’s team representing the Haudenosaunee Nation is eligible for selection. The 2021 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship will take place July 7-17, 2021 in Towson, Maryland, USA.