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FIFPro delegation heading for Qatar

November 27, 2013
By ESPN staff ,

A delegation from international footballers' union FIFPro is heading to Qatar to seek "urgent talks" over claims players' rights are being abused.

Saoud Al Mohannadi
GettyImages The Qatar FA are under scrutiny.

• Qatar FA rejects Belounis' claims
FIFpro seeks help for Belounis

The World Cup 2022 host has been in the spotlight over their work visa system which means if a foreign player is in dispute with their club they can be prevented from leaving the country.

Qatar's "kafala" employment system has come in for scrutiny as a result of the case of French-Algerian player Zahir Belounis, who is under contract at Al-Jaish until 2015 but has been denied the chance to leave the country because he is suing the club in order to recover unpaid salary.

The Qatar FA rejected Belounis' claims, saying he had never played for Al-Jaish and that he was still a paid employee of the Military Sport Association.

But FIFPro is also "seriously concerned" by allegations of human rights violations in the construction of World Cup 2022 stadia and related infrastructure.

"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.

"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.

"FIFPro is seriously concerned by allegations of human rights violations in the construction of World Cup stadia and related infrastructure."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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