The Haudenosaunee represent themselves in international lacrosse ©Getty Images

World Lacrosse said it wants to find "creative solutions" to allow the Haudenosaunee to compete at Los Angeles 2028 when the sport returns to the Olympic programme.

Lacrosse sixes was added to the schedule for the Games in California at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Mumbai on Monday (October 16), along with baseball/softball, cricket, flag football and squash. 

The sport originates with North America's indigenous people and the Haudenosaunee compete as themselves in World Lacrosse competitions.

They are currently ranked fifth in the world in the men's sixes rankings and seventh in the women's, so are among the leading sides in the world.

Olympic participation will be tricky, however, as all athletes represent a country with a recognised National Olympic Committee (NOC).

At the 2022 World Games in Birmingham in Alabama, a solution was found to allow the Haudenosaunee to play after they were originally not invited.

In the men's event, the eight teams had already been chosen but Ireland, the lowest ranked qualifier, demonstrated a superb display of sportsmanship by giving up their spot.

Lacrosse has appeared at the Olympics twice before as a full medal sport, in 1904 and 1908.

In 1904 in St Louis, a Haudenosaunee team representing Canada won the bronze medals.

"This is truly exciting and humbling news," said Leo Nolan, the executive director of the Haudenosaunee.

"The hard work of the international lacrosse community for including lacrosse as an Olympic sport is a wonderful example of respect and cooperation.

"It is humbling because when we realise the long history of lacrosse, we can see that our efforts have created a new turning point for lacrosse.

"We can only move forward, honouring all of the players of this great game."

A statement added: "The Haudenosaunee have worked hard over the last four decades to help spread lacrosse around the world, and along with international advocates from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Ireland, and many more, we have finally achieved an important turning point to have an indigenous created sport be recognised at international level.

"Haudenosaunee teams played in the 1904 and 1932 Olympics.

"Our players won the bronze medal in St Louis in 1904 and participated in an officially sanctioned pre-Olympic tournament at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

"We welcome this opportunity to build upon this historic legacy, and we have been heartened by the support we have received from the Los Angeles 2028 Committee for our inclusion.

"We would be thrilled to be involved in the Games." 

Casey Wasserman has said he would like to see the Haudenosaunee in LA ©Getty Images
Casey Wasserman has said he would like to see the Haudenosaunee in LA ©Getty Images

LA 2028 chairman Casey Wasserman said he wants to see the Haudenosaunee at the Games.

"The indigenous people of North America created lacrosse," he told Sportico

"If we could find a solution to allow them to compete, that would be incredible. 

"We don't have that solution today because it requires the IOC to create a competition structure other than the norm.

"I understand this is not a simple decision, but we would love to see it, I think it would be a really powerful moment for our country and for the sport."