Little League International has been advised today by the U.S. State Department that the Little League team from Kampala, Uganda that won the Middle East and Africa Region (MEA) Tournament, earning a berth in the 65th Little League Baseball World Series, will not receive visas to enter the U.S.
Because of privacy concerns, the State Department did not give Little League a reason for the decision, except that the documentation provided by the team contained discrepancies.
“It is unfortunate, as we were very much looking forward to welcoming the first African team to the Little League Baseball World Series,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “However, we have worked very closely with our State Department in recent years, and we very much appreciate their diligence in this matter. At this point, we are going to have to take a few days to evaluate all of our options, and decide how best to move forward as we prepare for the World Series next month.”
The Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport begins on Aug. 18, and concludes on Aug. 28. Sixteen teams from around the world play off to determine the world champion at the end of Little League’s International Tournament, featuring more than 16,000 games in six weeks of play.
The Rev. John Foundation Little League of Kampala won the MEA tournament by defeating a team from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 6-4, in the regional championship game on July 16. That game was played in Kutno, Poland, after which the Kampala team returned home to Uganda.