Australia evacuates greater than 50 Afghan athletes, World Information

Australia evacuated more than 50 Afghan women athletes and their loved ones after lobbying prominent figures in the sports world, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported Tuesday.

Australia has been evacuating its citizens and some of its former employees from its embassy for more than a week after the Taliban took control of the capital, Kabul, on August 15.

About 1,000 people were evacuated on Australian flights, and the ABC reported that including about 50 female athletes and their loved ones after their plight had the support of several prominent former athletes.

FIFPRO, the worldwide association of professional footballers, which is also strongly committed to the liberation of athletes, confirmed the group evacuation without giving any figures.

“We are grateful to the Australian government for evacuating large numbers of female footballers and athletes from Afghanistan,” said a FIFPRO statement.

“These young women have been in a dangerous position as both athletes and activists, and on behalf of their peers around the world, we thank the international community for their help.”

Khalida Popal, a former Afghan women’s team captain who now lives in Denmark, celebrated an important win.

“The women footballers have been brave and strong in times of crisis and we hope that they will have a better life outside of Afghanistan,” she said.

Nikki Dryden, who had swum for Canada in two Olympics, worked with an Australian lawyer to fill out the visa applications for the athletes, including two Afghan Paralympists.

Amid fears that a lengthy visa process would undo the plan, refugee attorneys enlisted the help of Australia’s former soccer captain Craig Foster, ABC reported.

The ABC said Foster stood up for Secretary of State Marise Payne and Secretary of Sport Richard Colbeck.

Soon after, the athletes secured visas and then made it to the airport in Kabul for an evacuation flight from Afghanistan.

FIFPRO thanked Foster and Dryden, among others, for their 24/7 efforts and urged the international community to ensure that players get the help they need in their new lives.

“In Afghanistan too, many athletes are still at risk and everything should be done to support them,” it said.

Representatives from Payne and Colbeck did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters. Foster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Australia evacuated more than 50 Afghan women athletes and their loved ones after lobbying prominent figures in the sports world, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported Tuesday.

Australia has been evacuating its citizens and some of its former employees from its embassy for more than a week after the Taliban took control of the capital, Kabul, on August 15.

About 1,000 people were evacuated on Australian flights, and the ABC reported that including about 50 female athletes and their loved ones after their plight had the support of several prominent former athletes.

FIFPRO, the worldwide association of professional footballers, which is also strongly committed to the liberation of athletes, confirmed the group evacuation without giving any figures.

“We are grateful to the Australian government for evacuating large numbers of female footballers and athletes from Afghanistan,” said a FIFPRO statement.

“These young women have been in a dangerous position as both athletes and activists, and on behalf of their peers around the world, we thank the international community for their help.”

Khalida Popal, a former Afghan women’s team captain who now lives in Denmark, celebrated an important win.

“The women footballers have been brave and strong in times of crisis and we hope that they will have a better life outside of Afghanistan,” she said.

Nikki Dryden, who had swum for Canada in two Olympics, worked with an Australian lawyer to fill out the visa applications for the athletes, including two Afghan Paralympists.

Amid fears that a lengthy visa process would undo the plan, refugee attorneys enlisted the help of Australia’s former soccer captain Craig Foster, ABC reported.

The ABC said Foster stood up for Secretary of State Marise Payne and Secretary of Sport Richard Colbeck.

Soon after, the athletes secured visas and then made it to the airport in Kabul for an evacuation flight from Afghanistan.

FIFPRO thanked Foster and Dryden, among others, for their 24/7 efforts and urged the international community to ensure that players get the help they need in their new lives.

“In Afghanistan too, many athletes are still at risk and everything should be done to support them,” it said.

Representatives from Payne and Colbeck did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters. Foster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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