Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani teams up with Kim Kardashian to rescue 130 footballers from Afghanistan

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani was part of a rescue effort to fly 130 Afghan female footballers from Pakistan to the United Kingdom on Thursday.

Alongside reality star Kim Kardashian, who paid for the chartered flight from the Middle East, and former Afghanistan national team captain Khalida Popal, Radrizzani supported the efforts to help the get the players to the UK.

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Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, the Football For Peace charity wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask for visas and to say that every squad member had been offered a place on Leeds’ youth development teams.

RESCUE EFFORT: Andrea Radrizzani was involved in getting 130 female footballers from Afghanistan into the UK. Picture: Getty Images.

Radrizzani, through his Play for Change Charitable Trust, said: "We are delighted the Afghan Women and Girls Development Football Team and their families led by their brave, former captain Khalida Popal have landed safely in the UK, following extensive efforts by a number of partners.

"We are honoured to have played our part and are grateful that the UK government has enabled their resettlement in the UK.

“This demonstrates the power of football, and sport in general, as a force for good and shows how the football community is able to collaborate and mobilise to save lives.

"Through Play for Change Charitable Trust and Leeds United we stand ready to support the girls and their families in building an inclusive and prosperous future.

RESCUE EFFORT: Kim Kardashian was involved in getting 130 female footballers from Afghanistan into the UK. Picture: Getty Images.

"We can’t wait to see them playing football again.”

Popal said in a statement: "Today is a day of great joy following the arrival of the Afghan Women & Girls Development Football Team and their families in the UK.

"The foundations of Afghan female football was built on activism, to use the power of our voices and the power of our sporting platform for women’s empowerment and justice beyond sport.

"The Afghan female footballers are well-known figures in the country.

"Their lives were in great danger, not only because of the new regime, but also because of others in the community who opposed their activism.

"As the founding member and former captain of Afghanistan’s first women's national football team, I felt responsible when the youth development team reached out for help and protection.

"This team have been through a lot and have made many sacrifices on their journey to freedom.

"Since August, they have been displaced from their homes and have been desperately looking forward to the freedoms and basic human rights that we often take for granted.

"I am thankful and grateful to the government of the UK and my partners, including Leeds United, Play for Change Charitable Trust and Tzedek, among others, who heard the voices of the Afghan women and helped my girls and their families on their journey to freedom.”