FIFPro head for 'urgent' Qatar talks
By Football News
FIFPro delegates will visit Qatar this week for "urgent talks" amid concerns that players' human rights are being neglected in the state.
World players' union board member Mads Oland will be joined by representatives of the International Trade Union Confederation in the party that will travel to the Middle East on Thursday to address concerns over the working visa system.
French-Algerian footballer Zahir Belounis is stranded in Qatar due to a dispute with Stars League club Al-Jaish over unpaid wages, as the kafala legal system prevents employees from leaving the 2022 FIFA World Cup host nation unless their employer agrees.
FIFPro hope the four-day visit will result in the Belounis saga coming to an end and ensure other players do not go through similar experiences.
The union said in a statement: "FIFPro assumes under the present arrangement that foreign players in Qatar can never feel certain their basic rights will be upheld and respected if a dispute, contractual or otherwise, arises with a club.
"FIFPro is working to resolve the deplorable situation which sees French-Algerian footballer Zahir Belounis unable to leave Qatar.
"Belounis, his wife and two daughters have been stranded in Qatar due to the country's kafala visa sponsorship system.
"His is a story we unfortunately know only too well. To prevent future misery for professional footballers, FIFPro will target the application of the kafala sytem with Qatari authorities and football's world governing body FIFA.
"FIFPro will meet with Zahir Belounis and implore local authorities to hear his cry for help."
The delegation will also use the trip to address concerns over the conditions of employment for construction workers on World Cup building sites.