Al Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi Arabian side, has been barred from signing new players until they settle a debt with Leicester City, FIFA announced yesterday.
In an October 2021 judgement by a FIFA-appointed judge at its players’ status committee, Al Nassr was ordered to pay Leicester €460,000 ($513,000) plus 5% annual interest.
Leicester filed the action in April 2021 due to unpaid additional clauses from the €18 million ($20 million) transfer of Nigeria forward Ahmed Musa in 2018.
Al Nassr, which was taken under majority ownership last month by the $700 billion sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund, can still sign 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.”
The signing of Ronaldo as a free agent by Al Nassr in January spurred an extraordinary buying frenzy by Saudi Pro League clubs, with four being majority-owned by PIF. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman chairs the fund.
This month, Al Nassr signed Croatia midfielder Marcelo Brozovic from Inter Milan in a deal worth €18 million ($20 million).
Al Nassr is in Portugal on a preseason training camp and on August 22 have 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.