Aug 20, 2021 - Sports

After Afghan soccer player dies falling from evacuation plane, world players' union works to help others

Youth soccer players in Afghanistan

Youths play soccer in a field near the Shir-e-Shorkh Baba Shrine in Dand district of Kandahar province on Oct. 1, 2020. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

World soccer officials are working with different governments to establish an evacuation plan for athletes at risk in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control.

Why it matters: FIFPRO, the world soccer players' union, made the announcement Friday on Twitter after news of the death of 17-year-old Zaki Anwari, a member of Afghanistan's national youth soccer team, who died after falling from a U.S. military plane.

  • Anwari is the first known fatality from the soccer community who has died during the crisis, and FIFPRO said there are still many other athletes and soccer players who are at risk in Afghanistan.

The big picture: FIFA called the situation “unstable and very worrying," and said it was in contact with the Afghanistan Football Federation and was receiving updates from players, per AP.

  • “As a champion of activists, we are greatly concerned about those athletes who have, for many years, been outspoken advocates for improved human rights in the country,” FIFPRO said on Twitter.
  • “Over the past few days, FIFPRO has been liaising with governments to establish an evacuation plan for athletes at risk. Central to this rescue effort, is the ambition to bring as many people to safety as possible.”
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