Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr to ‘face legal challenge’ for ‘violation’ of ownership rules

Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr side could be booted out of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League after being accused of breaching the competition's ownership rules.

Three Saudi Pro League clubs; Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad, all of whom are owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), have qualified and as such are set to face legal challenges for seemingly ignoring the AFC's multi-club ownership laws.

Like UEFA, AFC prohibits teams with the same owner from entering its Champions League tournament in order to protect the integrity of the competition and several leading Asian clubs from other countries are readying legal action against the AFC and its chairman, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa.

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At the moment, multi-club ownerships are only prohibited in the AFC Champions League in cases where there is a "material risk" that it could potentially "jeopardise the integrity of an AFC club competition and/or any match", with the burden of proof on the participating clubs to demonstrate why they present no such risk.

For example, Mumbai City and Melbourne City, both of whom are owned by Manchester City’s owners the City Football Group (CFG), are allowed into the competition together as there's a very slim chance they'll actually meet each other, particularly given the competition is initially split into two regional zones.

Should the Saudi clubs be allowed to compete against each other given that they have the same owners? Let us know in the comments section below.

But while Mumbai and Melbourne compete in the West and East zone respectively, all three PIF-owned clubs are in the same zone and could therefore face each other early on the competition. Subsequently, the AFC are facing calls to explain why its own regulations have been thrown out of the window.

According to the Guardian, the AFC are "bending over backwards" to keep the Saudi clubs happy after they pledged "financial support" in exchange for being awarded the Asian Cup (Asia's version of the Euros) in 2027.

The time for talking is almost over as KSI and Tommy Fury will bury their rivarly once and for all as they face off in Manchester on Saturday, October 14th. Logan Paul will also be fighting at the event in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd.

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Last year they changed rules on the quota of overseas players allowed in the AFC Champions League from three to five, and some AFC members think their decision to overlook their multi-club ownership regulations is demonstrative of their willingness to please Saudi Arabia.

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