Players' union FIFPro challenges Qatar over "kafala" system
A delegation from footballers' union FIFPro is heading to Qatar amid concerns players' rights are being abused.
Last Updated: 26/11/13 4:51pm
The gulf state's "kafala" employment system means if a foreign player is in dispute with their club they can be prevented from leaving the country.
That has left Zahir Belounis in limbo, with the French-Algerian player under contract at Al-Jaish until 2015 but currently in dispute with the club as he sues them to recover unpaid salary and unable to leave Qatar.
"FIFPro heads to Qatar on a four-day visit to seek urgent talks with the country's football authorities and organisers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup," said a statement on fifpro.org.
"(FIFPro) will not sit idly by as the rights of the players are being abused.
"FIFPro is working to resolve the deplorable situation which sees French-Algerian footballer Zahir Belounis unable to leave Qatar.
"FIFPro will meet with Zahir Belounis and implore local authorities to hear his cry for help.
"To prevent future misery for professional footballers, FIFPro will target the application of the kafala system with Qatari authorities and football's world governing body FIFA."
The union is also concerned about claims the human rights of construction workers are being abused as they build the stadia and related infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.
"A delegation led by FIFPro board member Mads Oland, together with representatives of the International Trade Union Confederation, will carry the message that, while FIFPro's primary concern must be the players, we will not overlook the tragedy which is currently unfolding in Qatar," the statement added.
"FIFPro is seriously concerned by allegations of human rights violations in the construction of World Cup stadia and related infrastructure."