Tibetan Women’s Soccer Team Denied US Visa For Tournament

Tibet women's football team denied US visas

You have “no good reason” to visit the US even if it’s for participating in a tournament. Yes, this reaction came from US President Donald Trump’s country while the Tibetan women’s football team was seeking US visas to compete in a tournament in Texas.

The 16-member Tibetan women’s football team was sent off home unhappy when they were denied US visas. The Tibetan National Sports Association on Thursday protested the denial and was in shock after the US embassy stated that all visa applications were rejected according to the US law.

“We are really perturbed over the behaviour of US embassy officials over the denial of visa to our team as all of them were carrying necessary travel documents,” an official of the Tibetan National Sports Association, a non-government organisation based in McLeodganj, told IANS.

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The team has stellar players from across the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) schools, which are run under the Central Tibetan Administration. The girls were eager to participate in the tournament and Cassie Childers, the executive director of Tibet Women’s Soccer and a US citizen, led them to seek an approval for a 10-day tourist visa to the US.

Reportedly, the invitation came from former English football player and manager Gordon Harold Jago to play the Dallas Cup, a soccer tournament where youth teams from around the world play. Stars like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney have played in the tournament.

Childers had visited the embassy on February 24 along with a team of 16 players for interviews.

“I am disappointed because we had planned the trip for months. It was a big moment in every player’s life when they were told about the trip. It was their opportunity to tell the world that Tibetan women are capable of achieving anything,” she said BBC after the rejection.

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In reply, a spokesperson of the US Embassy in New Delhi told IANS: “Under United States law, visa records of the US Department of State are confidential. All visa applications are reviewed individually in accordance with the requirements of US law.”

Childers later posted on Facebook:

Cassie Childers

This setback came into effect after the current US President’s travel ban on nationals from seven countries. India and China are not included in the list.

News agency AP quoted the statement of a US official that “they did not comment on individual cases, but that the US position on Tibet had not changed, which is that Tibet is still recognised as part of China”.

Cassie Childers 2

The Tibetan women’s football team had played the Discover Football meet in Germany in 2015.

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Feature Image Credit: Hindustan Times

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