Happy Football Cambodia Australia (HFCA), which has been associated with Cambodia’s Homeless World Cup campaigns for nearly a decade, on Tuesday announced the withdrawal of the Kingdom’s squad from the 2018 edition to be held in Mexico City from November 13-18 due to visa concerns for the team members.
According to HFCA, the difficult decision was made due to serious doubts about obtaining visas despite determined efforts over months to accommodate eight young Cambodians, who had never travelled outside the Kingdom before.
“We are disappointed by the lack of assistance received from Mexican officials, after six months of negotiations, in obtaining visas for our players to attend the Homeless World Cup – an event that prides itself on inclusiveness and fair opportunities for all,” HFCA CEO Paraic Grogan said.
“As can be expected, our players are very upset that they will be unable to represent their country next month in Mexico, but we will do all we can to ensure they have the opportunity to compete in Wales, at the 2019 tournament. This is very disappointing."
“We will be doing our best to make it up to the eight players in the coming months and they will have the option of taking up the eight places, if they so desire, for the 2019 Homeless World Cup which takes place in Wales in August,” added Grogan, who is also the founder of HFCA.
“We sincerely hope the Homeless World Cup will grant us a license for 2019 and the British Embassy in Cambodia will be more accommodating to our visa needs.”
Over the years HFCA and its partner organisations have been sponsoring Cambodian teams in HWCs all over the world since the Kingdom’s debut in Melbourne nearly nine years ago.