FIFPro delegation heading to Qatar after players' rights abuse claims

The city of Doha will be central to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar Photo: PA

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

The World Footballers' Association intends to address the issue of the country's 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.

And 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) 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."