Around one hundred footballers and coaches including female players have been evacuated from Afghanistan to Doha on a Qatar Airways flight, FIFA announced on Friday.
The game’s world body expressed “sincere thanks” to Qatar, host country of the 2022 World Cup, which supported the operation by “facilitating extensive discussions and for ensuring the safe passage of these individuals, deemed to have been at the highest risk”.
“FIFA… has been closely coordinating with the government of Qatar since August on the evacuation of the group, and will continue to work closely on the safe evacuation of further members of the sporting family in the future,” the federation said in a press release.
The International Olympic Committee announced on September 8 that all Afghan participants in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo were “out of the country”, as well as two athletes aiming to qualify for next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.
Just after the Taliban’s return to power, the Olympic body worked with national committees and international federations to re-settle in particular “women and young girls”, the demographic most threatened by the country’s new leaders.