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SBD Global/May 2, 2013/International Football

Player Complaints Overshadow Qatar Attempts To Project Improved Workers' Rights

Employment-related complaints by two int'l players, one of whom is barred from leaving Qatar, "threaten to overshadow the 2022 World Cup organizing committee’s release of a charter of worker’s rights designed to fend off criticism of labor conditions in the Gulf state," according to James M. Dorsey of MIDDLE EAST ONLINE. In separate interviews French-Algerian player Zahir Belounis, who is locked into a salary dispute with Al Jaish SC, the club owned by the Qatari military, and Moroccan int'l Abdessalam Ouadoo, who left Qatar last November to join AS Nancy-Lorraine, "complained about failure to honor their contracts and pay their salaries as well as ill treatment." The Qatar Stars League, the country’s premier league, "did not respond to requests for comment." Belounis "is locked into a court battle with Al Jaish to get payment of almost two years of unpaid salary." He "has been barred from leaving the country in a bid to force him to settle for a fraction of what is owed to him." Quadoo, who is owed five months’ salary, "denounced the alleged refusal of Qataris to honor contracts." He said, "The Qataris showed me no respect and I can never forgive them for that." Int'l players union FIFPro Africa division Secretary General Stephane Burckhalter, whose group reportedly is investigating Belounis’ case, said about Ouadoo’s experience: "Nothing can justify this. These practices are shocking, unacceptable and outrageous." The complaints of Belounis and Ouadoo "could not have come at a worse moment for Qatar." They coincided with the unveiling by Qatar’s 2022 Supreme Committee Workers’ Charter that "would be binding on World Cup-related projects." The charter, a set of lofty principles, affirms the right of those working on projects "to be treated in a manner that ensures at all times their well-being, health, safety and security" (MIDDLE EAST ONLINE, 4/30).
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