Moccasin assistant lacrosse coach Marty Ward won't get the chance to play in the World Lacrosse Championship in Manchester, England.
Ward was scheduled to be the starting goalkeeper for the Iroquois Nationals when the event began Thursday, but because of an apparently unresolvable passport issue with the British government, the Nationals have withdrawn from the tournament.
The week-long passport dispute had prevented the Nationals from leaving the U.S.¬† Rather than using U.S. or Canadian passports, they had insisted on using passports issued by the Iroquois confederacy that they have been using for international travel for more than 20 years.¬† Despite a one-time waiver approved by the U.S. State Department, the British government cited tigher security measures in place after 9/11 and refused to recognize the Iroquois passports.
After missing one game already and with another one scheduled for Saturday, the Iroquois group announced Friday it was withdrawing from the world championship tournament.¬† The Nationals were considered to be one of the top five teams in the tournament that included teams from 30 countries.
With their ancestors credited with inventing the game of lacrosse, the Iroquois Nationals had always been allowed to compete in the world championship as a separate nation.