The Australian government has been praised by FIFPro after evacuating women footballers and other athletes from Afghanistan.
Many sportswomen in Afghanistan have gone into hiding after the Taliban seized control of the country’s capital Kabul.
Football’s governing body FIFA contacted a number of governments last week to request help getting footballers out of the country and it has been reported at least 50 have made it to Australia.
“We are grateful to the Australian government for evacuating a large number of women footballers and athletes from Afghanistan,” FIFPro, the international organisation for professional players, said in a statement.
“These young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger and on behalf of their peers around the world we thank the international community for coming to their aid.
“There remains much work to do to support and settle these young women and we urge the international community to make sure that they receive all the help they need.”
In the middle of this humanitarian crisis I am so grateful to everybody on this unique team that helped to get the players evacuated. 2 weeks full of genuine care, masterminding and incredible perseverance. We won’t stop here! W/o representation these people can’t be saved! https://t.co/2a8tNA1o58
— Jonas Baer-Hoffmann (@BaerHoffmann) August 24, 2021
Former Afghanistan national team captain Khalida Popal hopes more players can be helped to escape the country.
“The last few days have been extremely stressful but today we have achieved an important victory,” she said.
“The women footballers have been brave and strong in a moment of crisis and we hope they will have a better life outside Afghanistan.
“But there is still much more work to do. Women’s football is a family and we must make sure everyone is safe.”
FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann added: “It has been an incredibly complex process for everyone involved to secure their evacuation.
“Our hearts go out to all the others who remain stranded in the country against their will.”
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