• U.S. visa denial

U.S. visa denial (Photo : Getty Images)

U.S. visas were denied to a team of Tibetan soccer players, according to an article by ESPN. The soccer team was applying for visas in order to compete in the Dallas Cup soccer tournament on April 9 to 16.

Like Us on Facebook

According to Cassie Childers, executive director and coach for Tibet Women’s Soccer, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India had told the team that they “have no good reason to visit the U.S.”

The team that visited the embassy in New Delhi composed of 16 members, 14 of which hold Indian Identity Certificates. Functioning as passports, the documents are issued by the Indian government for Tibetan refugees. The remaining two members, including the head coach, are owners of Indian passports.

Meanwhile, four other team members live in Nepal and hold Nepalese passports. They had their interviews conducted in Kathmandu, and their application was put on administrative processing. They have not heard from the embassy since.

“There is no opportunity for them to defect, and the thought of shaming themselves, their team and their country in that way sickens them,” said Childers in an email. “This is not an anonymous soccer team that no one would notice if they never came back.”

A State Department official has reached out to clarify that individual visa cases are confidential under the Immigration and Nationality Act. In addition, the U.S. still considers Tibet a part of the People’s Republic of China.

The Tibet women’s soccer team have participated in a tournament in Germany two years ago without getting caught up in any visa issues. However, Childers is not part of the Tibetan National Sports Association and runs the Tibet Women’s Soccer as a charity registered in New Jersey. According to ESPN, the visa issue might be about sanctioning.

In a phone interview, TNSA executive secretary Kelsang Dhondup told ESPN that, “Cassie Childers’ team is neither recognized by the TNSA nor by the Tibetan government-in-exile. 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.”