UCI partners with FIFA and other organisations to evacuate 165 Afghan refugees

The operation was helped by owner of Israel Start-Up Nation, Sylvan Adams

Afghan national women's cycling team
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UCI has teamed up with FIFA and other organisations to evacuate 165 refugees from Afghanistan, including those involved in cycling and the Olympics, as well as members of the general public.

Thousands of people have attempted to leave Afghanistan since the militant Islamic fundamentalist group, the Taliban, seized control of the country in August as the United States began its withdrawal of troops by September 11.

Some of those Afghan natives evacuated by UCI were female cyclists, cycling management, a judge, multiple journalists, human rights campaigners, and artists who have already made it to Tirana in Albania.

The UCI said 38 refugees are moving to Switzerland and others will be heading to France, Israel, USA and Canada.

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This was all part of a huge operation that was done in connection with WorldTour team Israel Start-Up Nation's boss Sylvan Adams as well as FIFA, the UCI, the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC), NGO IsraAID, and multiple different governments.

The president of the UCI, David Lappartient, said: "It is very important for the UCI to make a commitment to the members of the cycling family who are suffering due to the current situation in Afghanistan, and I am delighted that our efforts in this respect are providing opportunities for the people concerned in decent living conditions.” 

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the governments of Switzerland, France, Canada, Albania, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and other countries which have worked on this project."

He went on to thank Philippe Leuba, Head of the Department of the Economy, Innovation and Sport of the Canton of Vaud, Osama Ahmed Abdullah Al Shafar, UCI Vice-President and President of the Asian Cycling Confederation as well as IsraAID and its CEO Yotam Politzer, and Sylvan Adams who presented the project to IsraAID and financed the evacuation, and finally the Afghan cycling federation.

It is now hoped that those who have been brought to Switzerland can become part of the UCI's World Cycling Centre (WCC) as well as the UCI's training and coaching centres in Aigle, Switzerland.

First, the refugees will have to go through the usual asylum procedures before they are allowed to join the programme.

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