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Fifa slammed after refusing to back calls to release Afghan girls from youth football team

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Taliban soldiers in Panjshir province, northeastern Afghanistan, September 8 (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Fifa has been condemned after refusing to support calls to release dozens of young women players from the Afghan national football team, young girls and their families currently trapped underground in Afghanistan.

The criticism comes after The Independent recently revealed that 32 girls were stranded in Afghanistan – after seeing a letter calling on the Pakistani prime minister to urgently help.

The letter, which urges Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to give girls and their families temporary visas to allow them to enter Pakistan, warns that time is running out and girls risk serious threats from women. Taliban and disintegrate security.

Activists told The Independent that the young women, many of whom are teenagers, were hiding in places as there were reports of the Taliban searching for hotels in an attempt to locate them.

These teenage girls and young female athletes are at immediate risk due to their association with women’s football in Afghanistan and their participation in public national football tournaments, the letter says, which was signed by Kashif Siddiqi, a London-born footballer. who played for the Pakistan international team. and who co-founded an NGO called Football for Peace.

After the article was published, The Independent asked Fifa if it would support calls to rescue young footballers and their families, but FIFA, the highest governing body in association football, has so far refused. whether or not she would support the campaign.

Speaking to The Independent, Match of the Day host and former England footballer Gary Lineker said: If they don’t support him, it’s morally wrong. I hope Fifa will support this and help these poor young girls and their families in their appalling situation. Football owes them a lot.

Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, argued that Fifa should use its considerable influence to protect the human rights of young players.

Ms Worden added: Like governments and agencies, FIFA can and clearly should use its enormous power and resources to protect the human rights of young players and their families, including supporting efforts to bring them to safety.

The story continues

Female athletes – and I would also say their coaches, referees, team doctors, women federation officials and coaches – are particularly vulnerable to persecution or retaliation from the Taliban precisely because they have been encouraged not only to be athletes. – but also public models for women’s rights and gender equality.

Fifa and the IOC are not governments, but they have considerable power and influence, especially with the government of Pakistan and the PFF, the Pakistan Football Federation, which is a member of Fifa.

The Independent understands that Pakistan’s prime minister is more likely to allow girls on the soccer team to enter his country if Fifa asks for help.

Chris Thomas, Founder of Football for Humanity, told The Independent: Given the serious threats to the Afghan national girls’ soccer team and their families, it would be good for Fifa to step in and support these players, most likely to help give them a safe passage to Pakistan where they will be stable until they are ready to be deployed to more permanent locations.

Football is a team game, and now is the time to show the world how powerful football is when we work together. By acting together, we can accomplish anything.

Mr Thomas said the organization had a refugee-led, football-focused psychosocial program in Manchester, which is currently preparing for an influx of Afghans to join the program.

Tony Burnett, chief executive of Kick It Out, a campaign group that combats racism and discrimination in football, said: If Fifa does not support this, it once again shows its contempt for the human rights of people who play and support football. .

The lives of these young women are in danger simply because they participate in football. What message does he send when the governing body of world football is not ready to support them? It’s 2021 and no one should be in danger because they play football.

We urge Fifa to show leadership and do the right thing before it’s too late. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Afghan people and their families.

The last time the Taliban ruled the country, women were not allowed to work, girls were not allowed to go to school, and women had to be chaperoned by a male relative if they wanted. leave the house.

Mark Perryman, the co-founder of Philosophy Football who writes on politics and football, told The Independent: Fifa projects itself as the guardian of a global game that too often becomes a mission not to upset any regime, even offensive, to keep them in place. field.

It is no surprise in a match between the Taliban and young Afghan footballers that they have chosen the wrong side.

Read more

Time is running out: dozens of Afghan girls on the national youth football team and families unable to escape

Dozens flee Afghanistan in first commercial airlift since US troop withdrawal

Australia to cancel test match in Afghanistan if Taliban ban women’s sport

No need: Taliban say women in Afghanistan will be banned from playing sports

Former Afghan footballer dies after falling from US plane as he tries to flee Kabul

Photo of Afghan woman in front of Taliban gun goes viral

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