Indiana senator to FIFA: Return Afghanistan women to World Cup competition
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A U.S. Senator from Indiana is calling on international soccer leaders to officially recognize the exiled women’s national team from Afghanistan.
Sen. Todd Young was one of seven members of Congress to sign the letter to FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body.
The letter from the Congressional Soccer Caucus calls for FIFA to allow members of the Afghanistan Women’s Football Team (AWT) “to play for their country without returning to the brutality of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.”
The request comes as the 2023 Women’s World Cup nears the semifinal round.
“The World Cup is about more than sports. It is about fair play and free competition, a global symbol of human striving, excellence and achievement,” Sen. Young told News 8 in a statement. “FIFA should uphold these values and give the Afghanistan Women’s Football Team the opportunity to compete.”
Since re-taking power in Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban have banned women from participating in sports.
Many of the national team members have fled the country and applied for asylum elsewhere.
AWT members have been playing against clubs in other countries while working to build a team to represent Afghanistan from outside the country.
“It is our belief that FIFA should develop a process to allow the members of the team, now exiled, to play in the organization, if not for the future of the beautiful game, then for the important message it sends to women and girls around the world,” the letter reads.
Young is an avid soccer player and fan. He played soccer while attending the United States Naval Academy.
He served as an honorary coach for the GOP Congressional Soccer team in June.