Dozens of Afghan footballers are pleading for a safe passage to Great Britain after being given the opportunity to train with Leeds United.
Some 32 players and their families and coaches are currently in Pakistan on 30-day visas, but will soon be forced to return to their home countries, which have been overtaken by the archaic Taliban.
But they were offered a silver lining after Leeds United offered to place all girls in their youth development squads.
President Andrea Radrizzani said his club was ready to “give girls a prosperous and peaceful future”.
Football For Peace is now fighting to bring the group of 112 to the UK so they can avoid having to endure life under the Taliban – who have effectively banned women from playing sports.
The association wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request visas for all young women and their families and coaches.
Charity co-founder Kashif Siddiqi, a Pakistani international, said: “The race is on to find them permanent refuge.”
Some 32 Afghan players and their families and coaches (pictured) are currently in Pakistan on 30-day visas, but will soon be forced to return to their home countries, which have been overtaken by the Taliban.
Football For Peace is fighting to bring the group of 112 to the UK so they don’t have to face the life of the militant group – which has banned women from having jobs while insisting that they have male escorts when they leave their homes
UK firm ROKiT has offered to cover much of the cost while sources in Downing Street are said to be studying the idea.
It comes after the Taliban announced earlier this month that they would effectively ban Afghan women from playing sports because “their faces and bodies will not be covered.”
The country’s new Deputy Culture Minister Ahmadullah Wasiq confirmed the activist group’s interpretation of Sharia when asked if they would allow women to play cricket.
“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because women don’t have to play cricket,” Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS.
“In cricket, they may be faced with a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.
Leeds president Andrea Radrizzani has said his club are ready to ‘give girls a prosperous and peaceful future’
“It’s the media age, and there will be photos and videos, and then people will look at them.
“Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or participate in the kind of sport in which they are exposed.
It comes as the barbaric reality of life under the Taliban became very clear on Saturday when gruesome images on social media showed four suspected kidnappers hanged from cranes in the western province of Herat.
One of the images showed the corpse of an accused kidnapper hanging from a crane, with a sign attached to it, as hordes of people watched from below and neighboring buildings.
The sign on his chest read, “The kidnappers will be punished like this.”
The vice-governor of Herat province, Mawlawi Shir Ahmad Muhajir, said the corpses of the men were displayed in various public places the same day they were shot and killed to teach a “lesson” that kidnappings would not be. not tolerated.
The posting is the most high-profile public punishment since the Taliban came to power last month, and is a sign that Islamist extremists will adopt dreaded measures similar to their previous regime from 1996 to 2001.