FIFA to lift Saudi club Al Nassr’s player registration ‘ban’ when debt is paid

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ZURICH, July 13, (AP): Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr will have its FIFA ban on registering new players lifted when it settles a debt with Leicester, soccer’s governing body said Thursday. Al Nassr was ordered to pay English club Leicester 460,000 euros ($513,000) plus annual interest of 5% in an October 2021 ruling by a FIFA-appointed judge at its players’ status committee. Leicester filed the complaint in April 2021 because of unpaid additional clauses due from the 18 million euros ($20 million) sale of Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa in 2018.

Currently, Al Nassr – which was taken under majority ownership last month by the $700 billion sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund – can still buy new players though not register them to play. Al Nassr’s signing of Ronaldo as a free agent in January sparked an unprecedented spree of spending by clubs in the Saudi Pro League, with four now majority-owned by PIF. The fund is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Al Nassr signed Croatia midfielder Marcelo Brozović this month from Inter Milan in a transfer reportedly valued at 18 million euros ($20 million). Musa left Al Nassr in 2020 and played last season with Sivasspor in Turkey.

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