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Opinion
Jonathan Mahler

Soccer Is Just Another Word For Slavery in Qatar

A 33-year-old French soccer player, Zahir Belounis, has been trying to escape from Doha for more than a year but can’t overcome the country’s repressive labor laws.

It turns out that migrant laborers aren't the only ones trapped in Qatar as the country frantically prepares to host a World Cup it never should have been awarded in the first place.

A 33-year-old French soccer player, Zahir Belounis, has been trying to escape from Doha for more than a year but can't overcome the country's repressive labor laws. When you take a job in Qatar, you effectively surrender your passport to your employer. It's called the kafala system, and if it sounds like modern-day slavery, it is. Whether you're a Nepalese construction worker, a Filipino nanny or a professional French soccer player, you're stuck until your "sponsor" releases you.