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Iroquois expected to be in Manchester despite visa problems

Published: 14th July 2010 18:15
THE Iroquois Nationals are expected to be in Manchester tomorrow for the opening day of the 2010 FIL World Championships.

English lacrosse teamEnglish lacrosse team

By Neil Goulding

But if they do not turn up in time for their opening match, then they will be forced to forfeit the game.

The team are due to face England (pictured above) at 7.30pm in the opening match of the tournament at the University of Manchester Armitage Centre, but have faced travel visa problems over the last few days in their attempt to reach the tournament.

The Iroquois had been refused entry to Britain because they wished to travel on traditional Iroquois passports.

They had been refused a visa by the Government because the Iroquois passport is not an internationally recognised travel document.

But Ron Balls, a spokesman for the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) - the sport's governing body - revealed: "We're hopeful the Iroquois team will be here in time for the tournament.

"The latest we've heard is that they are flying from New York today to Amsterdam. From Amsterdam they will fly to London Heathrow and, from there, they will be getting a coach up to Manchester.

"We're not sure of the timings, but the team know that they have to be ready to play in the opening game of the tournament against England on Thursday night.

"If the team are not here then they will forfeit the game and the points will be given to England."

The 2010 FIL World Championship team are doing their utmost to help the Iroquois, but the responsibility of getting to the tournament is down to each respective country.

David Shuttleworth, Chief Executive of the English Lacrosse Association, is hopeful the Iroquois team will arrive in time for this year's event.

He said: "It would be a terrible start to the tournament if they don't arrive. We really hope they get here in time.

"We're sympathetic to the Iroquois' position, hopefully they can get here safely and ready to play.

"At this stage we're hopeful they will arrive, but we will have to consider what we will do if they don't. It may be that we play another game tomorrow night

"But at the moment the tournament officials are in contact with the team and they are hopeful of the team arriving."

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