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    Thursday, July 13, 2023

    FIFA to Lift Saudi club Al Nassr’s player registration ban when debt to Leicester is paid

    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 Nigeria 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.

    “The club Al Nassr is currently prevented from registering new players due to outstanding debts,” FIFA said Thursday. “The relevant bans will be lifted immediately upon the settlement of the debts being confirmed by the creditors concerned.”

    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).

    Al Nassr is currently in Portugal on a preseason training camp and on Aug. 22 has a qualifying playoff in the Asian Champions League. Al Nassr will host Shabab Al Ahli of United Arab Emirates or Jordan’s Al Wehdat.

    Musa left Riyadh-based Al Nassr in 2020 and played last season with Sivasspor in Turkey. -AP

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