West Ham Ladies’ goalie is battling with the Home Office for the right to stay in Britain.
Aditi Chauhan, who signed a one-year deal with West Ham United Ladies in August, has been told she must return to her home country of India in January when her student visa expires.
The 23-year-old, who also plays for India, recently completed a masters in sports management at Loughborough University.
She had a trial with second division Millwall Lionesses but was unable to join because FA rules state that a player on a student visa cannot sign for a club in the top two tiers of women’s football. West Ham Ladies are in the third division.
But now the talented player, who is the first woman from the India national team to play English league football, faces a problem as the club is unable to sponsor her application for a work visa because it is in the third-tier and classed as semi-professional.
Chauhan, who won Asian Woman Footballer of the Year last week, told the Evening Standard: “I’m trying my best to get my visa sorted. I’ll be disappointed if I can’t continue here because I would love to stay at West Ham. I’m not going to stop playing even if it means I have to go to another country to continue my career. If something doesn’t work out here, I will probably go to Australia.”
Her brother Aaditya has launched a petition backing her which has so far attracted more than 800 signatures.
West Ham, who play in the Women’s Premier League Southern Division, are working with Chauhan to resolve the situation.