FIFA powerless to intervene in Belounis case

FIFA has said that it is powerless to intervene in the case of French footballer Zahir Belounis, who says he is being held in Qatar against his will following a dispute with his club.

As reported yesterday, the international players union FIFPro appealed to FIFA president Sepp Blatter to intervene on behalf of Belounis, who has been trying to leave the Gulf state for two years.

However, Blatter, who one assumes is on reasonably good terms with the Qatari hierarchy in light of him endorsing the country’s bid to host the world’s biggest sporting event, is unable to help.

“FIFA is unable to intervene in this matter given that Mr. Belounis chose the option of contacting an ordinary court in Qatar instead of the second option available to refer to FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC),” said FIFA in a statement.

“Furthermore, we would like to point out that FIFA has to date received no contractual claim from Zahir Belounis against his Qatari club as well as any accompanying documentation to support his case.”

In which case, that would make FIFA the only organisation involved in the sport unaware of Belounis’ plight.

The plight of the 33-year-old Frenchman is the latest controversy involving 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar following an outcry over the treatment of migrant workers building the stadiums and infrastructure for the finals.

If world football’s governing body can do nothing to help a professional footballer, one wonders what it will be able to do for the long suffering migrant workers. Sadly, very little.