Iroquois Lacrosse Team Misses Opener
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The Iroquois national lacrosse team was stranded in a Comfort Inn in Ozone Park, Queens Thursday night after being denied visas by the British government, the New York Times reports. The team was forced to forfeit the opening match of the world championship tournament against England.
Last week, the British government told team members that they would not be allowed to travel using their tribal passports without assurance from American federal officials that they would be permitted to return to the United States after the tournament. The necessary permission was denied earlier this week.
The Iroquois members were offered United States passports, but refused to accept them. Players argued that traveling on American passports would tacitly question the sovereignty of the nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.
On Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Clinton delivered a one-time waiver to allow the team to travel for the tournament. That evening British officials again denied visas for the team, despite earlier assurances.
The United Kingdom Border Agency has since stated that players would be allowed to enter the country only on the condition that they carry American or Canadian passports in addition to their tribal passports.
The State Department continues to advocate for allowing the Iroquois team to travel, but British officials have yet to make a concession. The team is scheduled to play against Japan tomorrow. It remains unclear whether they'll be able to take the field.