A group of players, coaches and family members from the Afghanistan girls’ football development squad have reportedly been granted visas to come to the UK.
The Sun reports Home Secretary Priti Patel has given the green light for the group’s 111 visa applications to be approved.
The squad have been in Pakistan on temporary visas since fleeing Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country, but faced being sent back once their asylum period ran out.
A source close to Patel reportedly told the paper: “At the heart of Priti’s new Afghan resettlement scheme is the protection of women and girls.”
The source added the team “will be able to make the UK their home, free from fear and persecution”.
Leeds United is among a number of organisations which had previously urged the government to grant the girls asylum.
Last month, the club’s chairman Andrea Radrizzani offered to place all the players on its youth development teams and said his club stood ready to “give the girls a prosperous and peaceful future”.
Kashif Siddiqi, co-founder of charity Football for Peace, which led the campaign to bring the squad to the UK, thanked Ms Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson for “giving these players a future”.
He said in a statement: “We’re still waiting to hear through official channels but if confirmed it means that 111 Afghan girls, family and coaches have just had their lives changed forever by Britain.
“Every single visa approved is a life enhanced, the right to education protected and the freedom to play football preserved.”
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