Iroquois lacrosse team cleared to travel by America–then blocked by Britain
Nation that invented the sport refused entry to UK for tournament
By Ewen MacAskill
Only hours after the US government backed down in a row with the Iroquois team over passports, the team's hopes of making it to the UK were dashed when the British government denied them entry.
The Iroquois team had been due to fly to the UK on Sunday for the opening game tonight against England in Manchester.
For the last three decades, the Iroquois have travelled using their own documents, as agreed by the US, Britain, Canada and other nations. But the US, under new stringent travel rules, insisted that they now use US passports, which the Iroquois do not recognise.
By Neil Goulding
The team had been due to play England tonight (7.30pm) in the opening match of the tournament at the University of Manchester Armitage Centre, but the British government has confirmed that they will not be allowed into the country unless the British government reverses its decision, said Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a lawyer for the team.
"They're telling us: 'Go get U.S. passports or Canadian passports,'" Frichner said on Wednesday shortly after getting the news. "It's pretty devastating."
Thus, tonight's scheduled clash will be forfeited and England will be awarded maximum points. In its place, England will play Germany in the tournament's opening game. The England-Germany match-up will be an exhibition game, and the results will not count toward the Championship.
I can just imagine it. Here's the Iroquois team passing through security:
"I dunno. I've never seen him before. Equipment manager? Water boy?"
"He's got dark skin like us, so he must be okay. Let him through with the rest of us."
I don't think they want the competition. Iroquois was scheduled to play [the] hosting country I believe. How's that gonna look if they lose?
For more on the subject, see Iroquois Kept from Lacrosse Championship.
Below: "Percy Abrams of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team shows his Iroquois Confederacy passport during a news conference in New York." (Bebeto Matthews/AP)