Indian Women’s Footballer Aditi Chauhan May Be Deported Over Visa Extension Issues
Indian women’s footballer Aditi Chauhan created headlines when she signed for English side West Ham Ladies. Her foray into British football made her the first Indian woman to do so However, in a major body-blow to her exploits, Chauhan could be deported next month, as her visa will not renewed by the Football Association (FA).
She said, “my student visa expires on January 29th next year and as of now West Ham cannot extend it as a sponsor visa as only first and second division teams are allowed to do so.”
As per the FA rules, a player on a student visa cannot join a team within the first two tiers of English football. It is because of this rule, that Aditi couldn’t play at a higher tier, despite trialling for Millwall Lionesses, a second division side.
Aditi’s student visa is about to expire, but she can’t do much about it. West Ham are currently a third division club, which makes them semi-professional, hence they are not authorised to issue a sponsored visa.
She added, “there are only two ways out for me, West Ham United Fc, the male club are registered to sponsor the visa and they can sponsor my work visa or the Indian government can help me by endorsing the Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa.”
Back in India, Aditi’s well-wishers have taken to Change.org, in an attempt to garner an Exceptional Talent visa. The petition titled “Let’s bring a change to Indian Football.. Let us join hands to support Aditi Chauhan!” has already reached its 7,500 target and will soon reach Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. It has also been directed towards Football development Foundation Chief Nita Ambani.
Chauhan said, “This is ridiculous, I can only laugh at the current scenario..There are a lot of male footballers who have gone abroad to play and I haven’t heard any of them facing such an issue. I wasn’t a part of the first or second division, now I can’t play in any of them. Hope the issue is resolved and I can continue my growth here.”
If the FA doesn’t allow her to stay on Aditi will be looking at greener pastures. She said, “If I have to come back to India, I will probably try to go to Australia or USA to continue playing football.” After recently, winning an award at the Asian Football Awards, the 24-year old was being touted for a long career within English football’s hierarchy. She added, “I have always been aware about my visa issue and have been trying to get it sorted for long time now, after the awards it was highlighted a bit more.”
Original article published in Sportskeeda
Cover image source: BBC
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