Tibet Women's Football Team Denied Visas To Enter US Because Their Reasons Aren't 'Strong' Enough

A group of female athletes preparing to visit the US for a football tournament have just been denied access, and it makes no sense.

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A group of female Tibetan footballers have been denied visas to the US to take part in a tournament in Texas, leading many to question whether Donald Trump's immigration ban might be to blame.

Fifteen players from the team, known as Tibet Women's Soccer, had planned to take part in the Dallas Cup tournament later this Spring, and were originally invited by organisers to stay with local players in keeping with the tournament's long-respected celebration of diversity and culture, along with a Catholic-Protestant tream from Ireland and a Muslim-Jewish team from Israel, according to the Guardian.

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However, on Friday, the players – whose ages range from 18-20 – were informed they had been denied permission to enter the US by embassy officials in Delhi, India.

Team captain, Jamyang Chotso said: 'What they said is we don't have strong reasons to go to Dallas. But I think this is not the reason for them to reject us. [We] think the reason is they think we might run away when we reach there.'

'For a footballer, football is not just a game. Through football I can represent my country and through football I can inspire our girls,' she added.

Earlier this year, Trump imposed an immigration ban that bars people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days, from locations such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

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However, the group's refused admission to the country has led many to question why the group of athletes from the autonomous region of China, India, Nepal and Tibet – would merit refused visas to the country.

Cassie Childers, the executive director of Tibet Women's Soccer and a US citizen told the BBC she was 'ashamed' of her country but doubted their denied visas – which cost the team half its yearly budget to apply for – was related to Trump's ban.

She said: 'I had feared an outcome like this because Tibetans usually struggle to get US visas as officials fear that they might request asylum.

Speaking of her team, Childers – who launched an online fundraising page to replenish the team's funds which has now reached almost £7,000 in five days, added: 'They weren't trying to immigrate. They were trying to play soccer.'

Yesterday, the team's Twitter page asked social media users if they could attend another international football tournament in April.

Let's hope all their practice on the pitch won't be put to waste.

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