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.

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!


I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.


It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.


After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.


When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.


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