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World cycling governing body UCI helps evacuate 165 refugees from Afghanistan

The refugees, who arrived in Europe via Albania, will be resettled in several countries, with 38 being welcomed by the Switzerland government while others will head to Canada, France, Israel and the United States. Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Cycling's world governing body UCI said it helped in the evacuation of 165 refugees from Afghanistan which included female cyclists, journalists and human rights campaigners whose lives were under threat if they stayed in the country.

UCI said they were a part of an operation that also included cycling team Israel Start-Up Nation's owner Sylvan Adams, an NGO named IsraAID, various governments, the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) and world football governing body FIFA.

The refugees, who arrived in Europe via Albania, will be resettled in several countries, with 38 being welcomed by the Switzerland government while others will head to Canada, France, Israel and the United States.

"It is very important for the UCI to make a commitment to the members of the cycling family who are suffering due to the current situation in Afghanistan," UCI president David Lappartient said in a statement on Monday.

"I am delighted that our efforts in this respect are providing opportunities for the people concerned in decent living conditions.

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to the governments of Switzerland, France, Canada, Albania, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and other countries which have worked on this project."

UCI added that those in Switzerland would be allowed to use their training facilities at the World Cycling Centre located in the Swiss town Aigle.

Australia evacuated more than 50 female Afghan athletes and their dependents after lobbying by prominent figures from the sporting world while several players from Afghanistan's national female youth football squad were granted asylum in Portugal.