15 Cameroonian footballers have been detained, fined and ordered to immediately leave Russian territory after attempting to stay in Crimea after a tournament.
The players of Yaounde II FC had played in Crimea’s first international football tournament – Crimean Football Union (CFU) Open Winter Cup – after its reunification with Russia in 2014.
The tournament which was played in various regions of Crimea between February 8 to 25, had 12 teams participating with eight from Crimea, three from Russia and Yaounde II FC being the only team from outside the region.
According to local Crimean media c-inform.info last Wednesday, the Cameroonian players who were living in Alushta on the southern coast of Crimea during the tournament, absconded at the airport after organizers escorted them at the end of the event.
The Feodosiya region court fined the foreign nationals 2,000 rubles ($35) each and ordered them to leave Russian territory within 10 days.
The 15 including one who held Belgian nationality were reportedly staying illegally in the Crimean village of Ordzhonikidze in Feodosia where they were arrested by border security operatives.
After interrogation, their documents were in order but their visas had expired, the local media reported, adding that they were handed over to the authorities who sent them to court.
“The Feodosiya region court fined the foreign nationals 2,000 rubles ($35) each and ordered them to leave Russian territory within 10 days,” the report added.
This is not the first time Cameroonian sportsmen and women have disappeared during international sports competitions in Europe.
The most recent was in 2012 when seven Olympic athletes from Cameroon, including 5 boxers, a swimmer and a reserve women’s goalkeeper, were reported missing during the London 2012 Olympics.