Most Saudi fans optimistic about World Cup draw: Poll

The match between Saudi Arabia and Russia will be on June 14, 2018. (Photo source: Twitter @footytoonz)
Updated 08 December 2017
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Most Saudi fans optimistic about World Cup draw: Poll

JEDDAH: The draw for FIFA’s 2018 World Cup took place on Friday, with the opening game on June 14 between host Russia and Saudi Arabia. In the same group A, Egypt will play against Uruguay.
According to a poll posted on Twitter by “Action Ya Dawri,” a famous Saudi football TV show, 55 percent of Saudi fans are optimistic about the draw results, 25 percent are concerned and 20 percent are disappointed.
A viral video displays a sense of solidarity between Saudis and Egyptians for being in the same group. At the end of the video, someone tells his friend: “We have no one by our side but each other.”
Mohammed from Egypt tweeted: “Saudis are happy to have us in the same group, and we are happy to have them, while Russia and Uruguay are happy to have us both!!!”
Gamal Arif, a Saudi football analyst, said: “Russia isn’t like Spain. It won’t be hard to defeat them. We’re supposed to win over Egypt and draw with Uruguay.”
Sports commentator Sami Al-Qurashi tweeted: “There are no easy teams in the World Cup, we should look at the opening match with Russia positively, Saudi Arabia is the first Arab team to play in the opening of the World Cup ever.”
The president of the Saudi Football Federation (SFF) said in a press release: “The opening matches usually take the spotlight, therefore the Saudi team will be at the forefront of the most prominent event in the World Cup, which is positive from different angles. Also, facing the Egyptian team in this group is an opportunity to let one of us pass to the second round. And I do not exaggerate when I say that the two of us, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, may succeed in passing to the second round together.”
The SFF has chosen Juan Antonio, the Chilean coach who resigned after failing to lead the South American champions to the 2018 World Cup, to lead the Saudi national team.


Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira

Colombian singer Shakira visits Tannourine Cedars Reserve, in Tannourine, Lebanon July 13, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 December 2018
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Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira

  • Shakira was named in the “Paradise Papers” leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and U2’s Bono

MADRID: Spanish prosecutors have charged pop music star Shakira with tax evasion, alleging she failed to pay more than 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) between 2012 and 2014. The Colombian singer denied the charges.
The charges published Friday allege that Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years but was in fact living in Spain with her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.
Tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas than in Spain.
Shakira said in a statement Friday through her representatives that she was not a legal resident in Spain during the years in question and owed nothing to the Spanish tax authorities, who are using her “as a scapegoat” to frighten other taxpayers into coming clean.
Prosecutors in Barcelona said Shakira’s travel abroad was for short periods because of professional commitments, while most of the year she stayed in Spain. They want her to pay tax in Spain on her worldwide income.
Shakira officially moved to Spain for tax purposes in 2015, after having two children by Pique.
A magistrate will assess whether there is enough evidence to put Shakira on trial.
Prosecutors want Shakira to pay a bond of 19.4 million euros — the amount they say she owes in tax, plus 33 percent, in accordance with Spanish law. Otherwise, they recommend a court freeze of her assets to that amount.
Shakira was named in the “Paradise Papers” leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and U2’s Bono.
The documents were obtained by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by Spanish news website El Confidencial.
Spain’s tax authorities referred their probe to the Barcelona prosecutor’s office a year ago.
Sports celebrities have also been in trouble with Spanish tax authorities, including soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.