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Saudi Pro League clubs 'ordered to pay $16m to players' with one alleging his 'family was held hostage'

Saudi Pro League clubs 'ordered to pay $16m to players' with one alleging his 'family was held hostage'

There are reportedly 21 cases in 18 months, with players who have been contracted Saudi Pro League clubs owed $16 million.

Saudi Pro League clubs have been ordered to pay $16 million to players in 21 cases in the last 18 months, a detailed report claims.

Before the transfer window closed on September 7, Saudi clubs spent nearly $1 billion after a mammoth spree which saw a host of high-profile players move to the country.

Only the Premier League had a bigger outlay on new signings than the SPL, who now have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante, Neymar, Riyad Mahrez, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Fabinho and Aymeric Laporte all playing in the league.

However, there is a recent history of legal jousts between clubs and players relating to alleged unpaid payments and contract breaches.

In the past, FIFPRO, the international union which looks after 65,000 players across the globe, had warned players against signing for teams in Saudi money being owed to stars became "a recurring problem”.

Former Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth striker Lewis Grabban was demanding £2.2 million in compensation over unpaid wages and signing on fees amid a messy situation with Al Ahli.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

As per The Athletic, his two-year contract was ripped up after three months when Grabban claimed he was owed $400,000 owed in wages and sought legal action.

Eventually, he received a payout of $700,000 and Al Ahli were banned from registrering new players for "two entire and consecutive registration periods" by FIFA.

Their appeal process with the Court of Arbitration (CAS) enabled them to splash out on a flurry of world stars.

Another Al Ahli saga involves Argentine Lisandro Alzugaray, whose contract was terminated after just 38 days.

He suffered an ankle injury early on and Al Ahli chiefs ripped up his deal, deeming him to have breached contract.

Alzugaray responded by requesting legal action as the termination is said to have occured on the final day of the transfer window - with the player feeling as though his release was for overseas player quota reasons.

The case went to FIFA and the outcome was that Al Ahli had to pay Alzugaray $750,000 - $490,000 in compensation and a further $260,000 for the signing on fee and month's wage he was owed.

Hamdi Nagguez, a Tunisia international, was paid $425,445 in outstanding payments and an additional $444,445 by the club in a similar situation.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Ronaldo's Al Nassr, who had a transfer ban enforced before a settlement was achieved have also been implicated, as per the report.

They were ordered to pay Brazilian midfielder Petros $2.5 million but the case is still ongoing, while they also binned off Abderrazak Hamdallah and said the reason was they were “fed up with the inappropriate and unprofessional attitude”.

Another case involved Everton Ferreira Guimaraes, shortened as Kaka. He played for second tier Saudi side Arar but angered the club by sharing two social media posts where he called the Saudi Arabian sports minister for help when he did not receive payment.

He was paid $87,000 following a dispute during which he accused his employers of "keeping his family hostage" and stopping them from fleeing the country.

Progress has been made in recent times with the formation of the Saudi Football Players Association (SFPA) in 2021 and the fact that FIFA cases have dropped in the past six months but it would appear as though more work needs to be done.

Featured Image Credit: Saudi Pro League & Getty

Topics: Saudi Pro League, Saudi Arabia, Al Nassr