The “Ghar Al-Dama Association” football club, which is active in the fourth division of the Tunisian League, decided to suspend its activities due to the illegal immigration of more than thirty players from its ranks to European countries.
Club president Jamil Mofthi said, “We stopped the activity and suspended play twenty days ago,” due to “the increase in illegal immigration of players. During the past three years, 32 players from the team immigrated to European countries.”
The official explained the reason for the players’ emigration by “the lack of financial resources and their weakness. We cannot buy equipment, jerseys and sports shoes,” in addition to the fact that “the players do not enjoy financial grants.”
Most of the players, aged between 17 and 22, arrived in Europe “either by sea in boats or traveling to Serbia and then illegally crossing to other countries,” according to the official.
Al-Mufthi stressed that the decision to suspend the activity will continue until the next sports season, “until we look into a solution with the Tunisian Football Association.”
And “Ghar al-Dama” is a border city with Algeria in the northwest of the country, and it is one of the marginalized areas that lacks development and relies mainly on agriculture, in which the football club was established more than a hundred years ago.
In recent years, the phenomenon of illegal migration of players from Tunisian sports teams to the Italian coast has become frequent.
And in mid-February, the goalkeeper of a club in the Tunisian league immigrated illegally by sea to Italy, according to what his club announced at the time.
The “Future of Rajesh” football club explained that the decision of the player Khalil Al-Zawali (19 years old) was due to the “difficult financial crisis and the difficult living conditions that the club is going through.”
The Tunisian coasts are considered a starting point for immigrants, whether Tunisians or those coming from sub-Saharan countries, heading towards the European coasts, especially towards Italy, while Tunisia is facing a severe economic crisis due to the high unemployment rate among young people.
Italy receives large numbers of migrants arriving from Tunisia across the Mediterranean. According to official figures, this country received more than 32,000 immigrants in 2022, including 18,000 Tunisians.
Tunisia, whose coast is less than 150 km from the Italian island of Lampedusa, regularly records attempts to leave migrants to Italy.
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