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Afghan Women's Support Forum

Afghanistan women call on ICC to form refugee team

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Afghanistan players taking part in an exhibition match in their home nation prior to the Taliban's return to power
Afghanistan have been a full ICC member since 2017 and as such are required to field a women’s team

Stephan Shemilt

Chief Cricket Writer

  • Published 1 July 2024

Members of the former Afghanistan women’s team have called on the International Cricket Council to help them form a refugee team based in Australia.

Formed in 2010, the Afghanistan women’s team disbanded in 2021 when the Taliban returned to power and banned women from universities, parks, sports and raided the homes of female athletes.

The ICC requires its full members, of which Afghanistan is one, to have a national women’s team, but the men’s team has retained its Test status and reached the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup last week.

In a letter to ICC chair Greg Barclay, the Afghanistan women said: “Creating a team of Afghan refugees can give us a chance to play, coach and administer a cricket team without borders.

“The creation of this team will allow all Afghan women who want to represent their country to come together under one banner.”

The Afghanistan women’s team was created nine years after the Taliban regime fell at the hands of a US-led military coalition.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) initially barred the women’s team from playing at several international tournaments, saying it received “Taliban threats”.

Twenty-five female cricketers were handed contracts by the ACB in 2020. Less than a year later the Taliban returned to power, ending any progress towards Afghanistan playing an official women’s international.

More than 20 Afghan women’s cricketers managed to leave the country and are currently living in Australia.

“We are asking the ICC to assist us in setting up a refugee team in Australia,” said the letter.

“Through this team we aim to represent all Afghan women who dream of playing cricket but are unable to in Afghanistan.

“Our goals in having a refugee team are to develop and showcase our talent, give hope to the women remaining in Afghanistan, and to draw attention to the challenges women of Afghanistan face.

“Like the Afghanistan men’s team are afforded, we aim to compete at the highest levels. We want to recruit and train girls and women who love cricket, to show the world the talent of Afghan women and to demonstrate the great victories they can achieve if given a chance through the leadership and financial support of the ICC.”

The ICC has been contacted for comment.

Read original BBC Sport post HERE.



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