European clubs plot new Saudi Pro League ‘rule’ on huge spending
According to City AM, Saudi clubs have spent the same or more than any other league, except the Premier League, during the current window.
Their window shuts at 10pm on Thursday, meaning even more business could – and likely will – be completed before then.
The Saudi Pro League’s marquee signings include Karim Benzema, Neymar and N’Golo Kante, while Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al Nassr in January.
Meanwhile, the league went all out to try and sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool.
They submitted a bid totalling £150 million prior to English football’s deadine day last week, but it was quickly turned down by Liverpool. The aim was to sign Salah for Al Ittihad, but according to Foot Mercato, they are no longer targeting the Egyptian in this window due to concerns over not getting the deal done in time.
Now, European clubs have reportedly called on FIFA to introduce a new rule to ensure that Saudi clubs meet their payment obligations.
They are calling for a ‘Saudi Pro League rule’
According to The Telegraph, leading European clubs, including the Premier League’s often-defined ‘big six’, took part in ‘behind-closed-doors’ talks on Wednesday.
The clubs met at the European Club Association (ECA) general assembly, where they also discussed the distribution of revenue for UEFA club competitions, and how those payments are made to individual clubs.
But another matter on the agenda, it is reported, was the Saudi Pro League.
The report claims that clubs are concerned over a lack of leverage for Saudi clubs compared to the regulations enforced by UEFA, including a ‘no overdue payments rule’. That states clubs must meet obligations to other clubs and their creditors, in terms of payments, by agreed deadlines.
It is added that, because of the high sums of money involved, the major European clubs want guarantees that the money will be paid.
Any regulation, if imposed, would likely have a major impact on clubs such as Liverpool and Chelsea, who each sold several players to the Saudi Pro League for considerable fees this summer.
Chelsea allowed Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy to join Al Hilal and Al Ahli respectively, while Liverpool sold Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to Al Ittihad and Al Ettifaq respectively.
As per Transfermarkt, it was Wolves who received the highest fee for a single player, out of Premier League clubs, from the Saudi Pro League this summer.
Al Hilal completed the signing of midfielder Ruben Neves for a fee of €55 million, while they also spent €52 million on Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.
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