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Why has Barcelona boss Xavi been prevented from entering the US?

US authorities revoked the Barça manager’s visa as he had been in Iran three times over the past five years but he will be cleared to travel on Monday.

Xavi grounded by US customs for having played in Iran

Xavi Hernández did not form part of the FC Barcelona expedition that set off for the United States on Saturday to start a 17-day pre-season tour. The grounding of the Camp Nou coach was caused, according to an official statement issued by the club, by “administrative and passport reasons.” However, AS has been able to investigate a little further and discovered the real reason Xavi was unable to travel to the US with his squad.

The reason cited by the United States authorities for revoking the Barcelona boss’ visa is that he travelled to Iran three times over the course of the past five years to play in Asian Champions League qualifiers while he was a midfielder for Qatari side Al Sadd.

Xavi’s Al Sadd trips cause US paperwork issue

Xavi’s most recent game for Al Sadd in Iran was played in Tehran against Persepolis in May 2019. The US authorities prevent people who have visited Iran within the previous five years of application for qualification for a visa through the ESTA system. The United States severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980 after the Iranian takeover of the American Embassy on November 4, 1979, and thwe two countries have never re-established formal relations. Iran is subject to some sanctions by the US and concerns over the country’s ongoing nuclear program have made any attempts to thaw diplomatic ties almost impossible. As such, any visitors to Iran subsequently applying for a US visa through the ESTA system have to provide details of the reasons for their travel.

In Xavi’s case it appears this documentation did not arrive on time and the US authorities announced on Friday that Xavi would not be able to travel with the squad this Saturday. However, with the paperwork ironed out, Xavi is expected to be cleared to join Barça’s US tour on Monday.

While Xavi waits for these administrative issues to be cleared up his assistants, Sergio Alegre and Óscar Hernández, will take charge of directing Barcelona’s training sessions in Miami.


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