• International

Belounis freed to leave Qatar

ESPN staff
November 27, 2013
Euro parliament enters Qatar debate

Zahir Belounis has been granted an exit visa to leave Qatar, his brother has announced on Twitter.

The French-Algerian, 33, had said he was stranded in the Gulf state after he took legal action against El-Jaish Sports Club, whom he claimed had failed to pay his salary.

Migrant workers are not permitted to leave Qatar unless their employer grants permission under the kafala system, and Belounis said he was forced to sell off his possessions as he could not earn a salary or move elsewhere.

FIFpro, the international players' union, had asked FIFA to intervene but were unsuccessful, while Belounis wrote to former Qatar World Cup ambassadors Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola asking for help.

FIFpro had recently announced it was sending a delegation to Qatar to seek "urgent talks with the country's football authorities and organisers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup."

On Wednesday, the player's brother, Mahdi, announced that a visa had now been secured and he was able to return to France.

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