MAMOSA Report — Tibet Women’s Soccer team are said to be in “good spirits” despite not being able to visit the US. They said they were told they had “no good reason” to visit the US.
The team was planning to take part in the Dallas Cup, an annual tournament for youth teams from around the world.
The team now wants to visit a country which welcomes Tibetans, Cassie Childers, the executive director of Tibet Women’s Soccer and a US citizen, told the BBC.
The all-women team belonging to the “Roof of the World” was denied United States visas to take part in a tournament in Texas, BBC reported.
Most of the players are Tibetan refugees living in India, and had applied at the US embassy in Delhi.
Under the Trump administration, the US has temporarily barred people from seven countries. But Tibetans and Indians are not on the list.
Childers said she had accompanied the group of 16 players for interviews at the embassy on 24 February.
“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.
Ms Childers added that she was “ashamed” that her country refused to grant visas to a women’s football team.
However, she said she did not think the denial had anything to do with the Trump administration.
“I had feared an outcome like this because Tibetans usually struggle to get US visas as officials fear that they might request asylum,” she said.
She added that her team “was in good spirits despite this setback”.
“The players are very positive. I was very dejected but they motivated me. I hope some other place will invite us where Tibetans are welcomed. Otherwise, we will just get together in an Indian city and practice anyway.”
Most of the women in the team carry Indian Identity Certificates, which are documents issued by the Indian government to Tibetan refugees and function as passports.
Two members of the group held Indian passports.
Another four players who live in Nepal, and are Nepalese citizens, have also applied for visas in Kathmandu, but haven’t heard from US officials.
A US official told the AP news agency that they did not comment on individual cases, but that the US position on Tibet had not changed, which is that Tibet is still recognized as part of China.
Last month an athlete from Indian-administered Kashmir was denied a US visa amid fears he may have fallen foul of new US immigration policy.
Tanveer Hussain, 26, was scheduled to participate in the 2017 world snowshoe championship at Serenac Lake, New York.
His coach told BBC a US embassy official told him she could not help him due to “current policy” but did not elaborate.
India is not among the seven nations whose citizens are barred from entering the US under new immigration rules.