Xavi was a football player for Al Sadd club until 2019, which he later decided to coach until November when he became Barcelona’s coach.
Barcelona’s coach Xavi Hernández Creus was denied entry to the United States on Saturday due to his previous visits to Iran.
The Spanish manager missed his team’s flight for the upcoming American preseason tour as a result of issues with his passport, the Spanish club said on Saturday.
However, Spanish sports papers AS, Mundo Deportivo and others reported that US authorities requested additional documentation from Xavi because of three visits he had previously made to Iran when he was player for Qatari club Al Sadd from 2015 to 2019.
Xavi played the last match of his footballing career in Tehran and now needs a special permit to be allowed entry into the US.
Al Sadd was beaten by Iranian team Persepolis 2-0 towards the end of the 2018/2019 football season, in a 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League match.
Tehran and Washington share no formal diplomatic relations, with the latter imposing numerous crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The team reportedly learnt that Xavi had not passed the US’ Electronic System for Travel Authorisation on Friday before their scheduled departure. Thinking the solution has been found, the team arrived to the airport only to realise that Xavi was not allowed to board the plane, prompting the team to travel without him.
Individuals with history of Iran travels face problems upon gaining entry access to the US due to America’s immigration policies, which has been described as racist and charged by white supremacy.
Barcelona’s squad was en route to Miami to partake in a number of pre-season training sessions as well as four friendly matches, including a fixture against El Classico rivals Real Madrid.
However, Xavi is expected to arrive to the US on Monday due to the visa processing time – in time to manage the final training session on Tuesday before the friendly against Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The Catalan giants will then face fierce rival Madrid in Las Vegas on 23 July, before playing Juventus in Dallas on 26 July and the NY Red Bulls in New Jersey on 30 July, before heading back to Spain ahead of the upcoming 2022/2023 season.