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September 19
18:16 2018

Today Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington confirmed that his Ministry will not be able to assist young footballer Jardehl Muschamp, whose once in a lifetime opportunity to play ball at the Barcelona Academy in the US has all but crashed. “The United States has its rules, its laws…its policies. They bend that for no one,” Elrington told the Reporter during an interview.

Muschamp, the 16-year-old football player from Independence village who recently made headlines for getting accepted into the prestigious Barcelona Academy in the US, has raised the necessary funds and has enrolled in the program already. However, his student visa request was denied by the US Embassy, complicating matters for the aspiring athlete.

His father told the media following the denial that he would be requesting the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see if there is any way it can assist in making Jardehl’s dream a reality. But that won’t be happening.

“They (the US) are so strict, so that our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not be able to help them, and my only advice to the poor young man is that he may want to go to another country which is more hospitable,” Elrington explained, asserting that “if they believe that this person is not going to come back, doesn’t have enough connection to Belize to come back if they give him a Visa, they won’t do it. It doesn’t matter who it is. We have no power to intercede.

Jardehl’s story inspired many, some of whom helped by donating towards his tuition so he would be able to enroll by the deadline. The rest was secured by his family and all his fees have been paid. His family, however, says it feels a sense of exasperation because it thought the hardest part had been resolved.

According to the family, they were told that there was not sufficient evidence to suggest the youth would return to his home country, a factor of rigid US immigration policies. The US Embassy, in a statement to the Reporter, said it reviews all visa applications on a case by case basis and in accordance with US law, is prohibited from discussing individual visa cases.

Jardehl was granted a rare chance, which many have called a once in a lifetime opportunity, when his father enrolled him in a football summer camp in the US earlier this year. He made it there in time to join the last recruitment drive to round out the last few spots for the academy. While there, Jardehl quickly impressed scouts who shared information with his father about further enrollment in the prestigious program. The academy boasts a 100% success rate with students either moving on to play professionally or receiving a full scholarship to college after graduation.

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