“We are working to finalize visas for the Afghan Women’s Development Team and look forward to welcoming them to the UK soon,” a UK government spokesman told CNN.
The UK Home Office declined to comment on the type of visas that players and their families will receive.
In August, the UK government announced a resettlement plan for Afghan citizens facing “threats of persecution from the Taliban”.
The plan, which gives priority to women, girls and religious minorities, will see Britain add 20,000 refugees over the next five years.
Thirty-five young footballers, mostly teenagers, and their families – 130 people in total – missed an airlift evacuation from Kabul in August, according to the UK-based charity, the Rockit Foundation, which is providing aid.
Jonathan Kendrick, founder of the ROKiT Foundation, said, “With the help of some very brave people on the ground in Afghanistan, the girls made the dangerous journey in small groups to the border of Pakistan and were, eventually, able to go through all of them”. .
‘They have a right to dream’
Kendrick said Pakistan granted temporary 30-day visas to the players and their families and they were taken to Lahore before applying for UK visas.
With the visa application successful, Kendrick said the second phase of the operation was the “safe housing of girls” in Pakistan before the third phase, with the resettlement of the girls and their families to come “in the next few weeks”. to Britain.
Siu-Anne Marie Gill, CEO of the ROKiT Foundation, said the charity would “continue to provide support to help arrange further education” in the UK […] As well as testing for players from several English professional women’s football teams, who have already expressed great interest in meeting them.”
Leeds United president Andrea Radrizani last month urged the UK government to help the girls resettle in the country.
In a statement sent to CNN, the owner of Leeds said he stands ready to “support in any way we can to give the girls a prosperous and peaceful future.”