For foreigners In Saudi Arabia: why football players want to change the championship

For foreigners In Saudi Arabia: why football players want to change the championship



Last summer, many top players moved to Saudi Arabian clubs. Against this background, bookmakers began to offer more bets on the local league. And bettors could place bets using free bets without replenishment accounts. But six months later, something went wrong.

The opinion of some football stars has changed dramatically. Fans began to criticize them. The players lost motivation to run in the Saudi championship and decided to change teams.

We tell you who is tired of the league and why the players want to return to Europe. Who wanted to leave Saudi Arabia

Al-Ittihad's Karim Benzema was the first to sound the alarm. The winner of the 2022 Ballon d'Or (a prize for the best football player of the season) left the club for unknown reasons, left the country and deleted his account on one of the social networks. But then he got mad and came back.

The media reported that the reason was criticism from fans of the Saudi team. Fans accused the Frenchman of laziness on the field. However, statistics say otherwise. In 26 matches in all tournaments, the forward scored 15 goals and provided 8 assists. He is the second highest scorer in Al Ittihad and 15th in the league.

Following Benzema, Roberto Firmino spoke. The Brazilian was losing competition to local players and temporarily stopped being in Al-Ahly's starting lineup. Plus, the striker was no different in 17 matches in a row. Until February, he only scored 3 goals, which he scored in the first game. Now he has already hit 6 goals.

Firmino wanted to return to England, where he played before the move. But the player’s salary prevented the transfer. The Saudis were ready to loan him out on the condition that the new club would take on most of the Brazilian’s salary - about 378 thousand euros per week. But no one responded to this.

Jordan Henderson went the furthest. He left Al-Ittifaq for the Dutch Ajax. He cited difficulties with adaptation, climate and low attendance at home games as the reasons. The Saudi team itself failed the season and does not claim high places. This would make it difficult for Jordan to make the England squad for the 2024 European Championships. That's why Henderson moved to the European league. Will players have problems?

Salaries in Saudi Arabia have lured many players. But for those who want to return, for example, to England now, there are tax consequences.

Saudi Arabia does not levy income tax on football players. But in the UK things are different. Players who are citizens of the country are required to transfer at least 47% of their salary to National Insurance if they work in its territory.

If, on the other hand, athletes leave the country and become tax residents in other countries, the UK government will not charge them anything. Footballers are also allowed to return to England briefly, but not work in the country for more than 30 days during the tax year.

Henderson left for the Saudis in the summer of 2023. Tax exemption will come only in two years - in the summer of 2025. Largely because of this, Jordan did not return to the islands. He doesn't want to face a huge tax bill.



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