Sri Lanka's 'handball team'placed on German wanted list

24th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 September 2004 , AUGSBURG - German authorities have put 23 men claiming to be Sri Lanka's national handball team on their wanted list after the sportsmen absconded two weeks ago, possibly to work as illegal immigrants. Senior prosecutor Thomas Weith said Friday that Sri Lanka's Ministry of Sport had confirmed the team was fake, backing up German handball officials' views that the players were worse than amateur. They lost every game against German local teams. The players and coach disappeared 13 Septem

23 September 2004

AUGSBURG - German authorities have put 23 men claiming to be Sri Lanka's national handball team on their wanted list after the sportsmen absconded two weeks ago, possibly to work as illegal immigrants.

Senior prosecutor Thomas Weith said Friday that Sri Lanka's Ministry of Sport had confirmed the team was fake, backing up German handball officials' views that the players were worse than amateur. They lost every game against German local teams.

The players and coach disappeared 13 September from the southern German town of Wittislingen where friends of the developing world had invited them to attend a free training camp.

The group left a note saying they were headed to France, though border officials later recalled waving them through to Italy.

Weith said the German embassy in Colombo had retroactively cancelled the visas of all 23, meaning their presence on German soil was illegal. They were now wanted for offences against immigration laws.

Rueful sports officials in Wittislingen said all that remained behind was dirty laundry. A German Sports Exchange Programme organizer said he felt very let down and was not planning to invite any more teams from Sri Lanka.

Unbeknown to the Germans, handball is rarely played in Sri Lanka, where ministry officials said there was certainly no national team.

Weith said prosecutors assumed the trip to the training camp had been a ruse to immigrate illegally with all expenses paid. He said German authorities still had no idea where the men went to.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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