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Tibet Women's Soccer Team Denied US Entry for Tourney

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By    |   Friday, 03 Mar 2017 07:43 AM

A Tibetan women's soccer team claims it has been denied entry into the United States to participate in a Texas tournament.

The 16-member team is made up mostly of Tibetan refugees living in India, reported the BBC News on Thursday, and the squad had applied for visas at the U.S. embassy in Delhi but claimed they were declined.

The team was scheduled to take part in events connected with the Dallas Cup soccer tournament April 9-16, according to The Associated Press, which suggested the denial involved whether the team was officially recognized by Tibet.

"I am disappointed because we had planned the trip for months" Cassie Childers, the executive director of Tibet Women's Soccer and a U.S. citizen, told the BBC News. "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."

Childers said she had joined the women at the embassy for their interviews on Feb. 24. She told the AP that the team was told that they "have on good reason to visit the U.S."

Childers said the Dallas Cup organizing committee was sponsoring the tour. The squad was expected to lead the procession during the opening ceremony at the Cotton Bowl, then play three exhibition matches against local teams during the week.

The AP said the denial may be related to sanctioning. Childers' squad is part of a charity and not sponsored by the Tibetan National Sports Association.

"Cassie Childers' team is neither recognized by the TNSA nor by the Tibetan government-in-exile," TNSA executive secretary Kelsang Dhondup told The AP. "Even though the players in her team are Tibetan, the team does not officially represent Tibet. TNSA is the only sports authority recognized by the Tibetan government and all invitations to our official teams are processed through the relevant TNSA and government authorities. We did not know about the invitation from Dallas."

The Dallas Cup issued a statement, clarifying that the tournament is an event for boy's teams, but the Tibet team was invited by its charitable arm, Dallas is Diversity, as guests.

"Dallas is Diversity was also assisting with fundraising efforts," the tournament said on its website. "A separate committee is organizing the potential visit and their activities, as well as spearheading the fundraising efforts for the team."

"We will continue to work with the State Department, key lawmakers, and government contacts in assisting the Tibet Women's Soccer initiative through their visa application process, however long it takes. We are still hopeful that the Tibet girls realize their dream of a cultural and educational visit to the North Texas area one day, and once it takes place, we look forward to having them attend the Dallas Cup as our VIP guests."

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A Tibetan women's soccer team claims it has been denied entry into the United States to participate in a Texas tournament.
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2017-43-03
Friday, 03 Mar 2017 07:43 AM
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