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'Missing' footballers prompt new entry rules

TT/The Local · 21 Jul 2009, 10:20

Published: 21 Jul 2009 10:20 GMT+02:00

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The event is held every July in Heden, outside of Gothenburg in western Sweden, and features 1600 teams from 60 nations.

Starting in 2011, players will be required to provide a fingerprint in order to receive an entry permit to Sweden, reported Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper.

The Migration Board wants to make it more difficult for players to drop out of the tournament and seek asylum under false pretenses.

Fingerprints make it easier to recognize individuals who apply for asylum elsewhere in Sweden or in other Schengen countries.

Five players from Tanzania disappeared after this year's tournament. As of Monday, none of them had file asylum claims.

But Leif Andersson of Migrationsverket in Gothenburg says that most defectors wait awhile before applying for asylum. That makes it less likely that the Migration Board will be able to make a connection between the applicant and the Gothia Cup, reported GP.

The five who disappeared are born between 1990 and 1993 and all played for the same team. According to Nils Lundqvist, police inspector at in Gothenburg, it's not uncommon for players to disappear in the wake of the tournament.

“It's a common occurrence after Gothia. Every year, we have young people who disappear. There are always a handful, most often from African countries, who take off,” he told GP.

Story continues below…

Lundquist told GP that last year, an entire team from Libya disappeared. In another case, a number of Tanzanian girls left their team in 2002. Four years later, two of them were found working as prostitutes in Gothenburg.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:36 July 21, 2009 by zlexi
If its a common occurrence why let them in in the first place?? It would save a lot of hassle & money by preventing them from even entering the country for the competition.
13:08 July 21, 2009 by jeffi lost her first one
Sweden wants to fingerprint sports teams from refugee-prone countries but frowns on Canada requiring a visa for entry for select EU member states citizens? I call hypocrisy.
15:22 July 21, 2009 by Kaethar
How is that hypocritical? The finger-printing is not targeting a specific nationality (only non-EU ones because of Schengen) and only when it comes to sports-tournaments. Canada, however, imposed VISA's on all people from the Czech Republic - one member of the EU. You can't impose VISA restrictions on one member and not the others. Of course the EU should retaliate. And, as a note, most countries in the world recquire finger-printing for VISA's. Tanzania is one of them. The EU and Canada had an agreement and Canada broke it. That's that.
16:12 July 21, 2009 by conboy
Delighted to see the red white and blue shirts of Aspudden being featured in the photie! Great football club!
17:19 July 21, 2009 by tigger007

sweden needs to do more to stop this organized planed event! they need to go further than just finger printing,they need to photograph them and finger print them. make it hard for them to recieve government services and prosecute those who are helping them. make the coaches and team organizers held responsible for these african kids. send social service workers over to their team camp and offer services to those whom are in need. the gothia cup organizers need to do a physical head count of all the players in the gothia cup,before and after each game. if i was the police i would start looking in bergsjö göteborg and angered! these kids parents pay the organizers to send their kids here and pay the handlers to keep them so they can file for asylum. i'm sure canada had a good reason to impose a visa for CZ people. only a fool hears one side of the story and makes his or her's comment!
19:25 July 21, 2009 by demi4uok
Anybody can like to explain it. what are the necessary requirements for joining the football club in sweden the players belongs from other countries?...
08:40 July 22, 2009 by canuk
its not acceptable that people come to a country under false pretences and 'disappear' during or after the game. There are legal channels for people to go through if they seek asylum. The UK for instance takes a very harsh stance on this, why should Sweden be any different. In my opinion people here illegally should be deported tantamount on discovery.
10:47 July 26, 2009 by ameribrit
Lets do a bit of math here. 5 are missing. 1600 teams in the competition. Lets be conservative and say there are 15 youngsters per team. Anyone? That's correct! 24000 youngsters at the competition. > 0,021% sneak off. Put another way, that is 1/48th of 1 percent. I am not saying that nothing should be done, but let's get some perspective on an issue before we go off half cocked. There are bigger issues out there.
11:54 July 26, 2009 by IamUnique
But it's not that simple, is it, ameribrit?

But let's put it in this perspective for you. If Sweden as a nation is incapable of stopping even "5" footballers going AWOL from a "well-organised" football event, what's the chance of Sweden stopping hundrends of bogus immigrants trying their very best to illegally enter the country?

It would seem completely absurd to millions of Swedes concerned about immigration, don't you think?

That's why this news has been a news at all, I think,

What do you think?
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