French-Algerian footballer Zahir Belounis finally arrived back in Paris on Thursday following a pay dispute with his Qatari club who refused him an exit visa for 17 months.
Belounis launched legal action against Al-Jaish in February after the club stopped paying his wages but was then refused an exit visa unless he dropped the case.
Following negotiations between the French embassy and Qatari authorities Belounis was finally allowed to go home.
On his arrival he said: “I am proud of being French, I’m in France today, back home, and it feels good. Concerning the club, the affair is in the hands of the courts. I shouted out loud for many months to make myself heard, I was harmed, I’m going to see my lawyer tonight and the people who did this to me will pay.”
The Belounis affair shines another unfavorable light on the 2022 Word Cup hosts who have come under increasing worldwide scrutiny over it’s controversial employment laws, notably the kafala or sponsorship system for migrant workers.