FIFPro “cautiously optimistic” of resolving Belhounis dispute



 The International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) are “cautiously optimistic” an agreement will be reached with Qatari authorities that will see French footballer Zahir Belounis leave the country.

Belounis has been trapped in the Gulf state because its labour laws prevent workers from leaving the country without an agreement from their employers.

FIFPro today announced that a delegation led by board member Mads Øland will travel to Qatar for urgent talks with the country’s football authorities and organisers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The representative organisation hopes to lay the foundations for the abolition of the kafala sponsorship system which Belounis claims restricts footballers’ rights in Qatar.

FIFPro’s Communications Director Andrew Orsotti told News Anois that dialogue between local authorities in Qatar and the organisation have been “progressing at a high level”.

Orsotti continued: “we’re hopeful the player will soon be able to leave the country”.

He continued to stress that FIFPro remain “extremely cautious” surrounding the Belhounis case as they’ve heard of “multiple broken promises” offered to the player from back as far as the beginning of October.

Belhounis wrote an open letter to former 2022 World Cup ambassadors Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola earlier this month asking for them to intervene on his behalf.

The Frenchman has been in dispute with his former club al-Jaish over two years of unpaid wages, stating that he has been forced to sell his personal belongings in order to provide for his family.

Ronan Morrissey