Kuwait football chief welcomes FIFA reentry process

FIFA president Gianni Infantino (C) attends a tour of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City on December 6, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2018
0

Kuwait football chief welcomes FIFA reentry process

KUWAIT CITY: The newly-elected head of the Kuwait Football Association has welcomed the appointment of a FIFA “normalization” comittee to oversee the county’s re-entry into the global body — after a 2015 suspension.
“Kuwaitis were very happy when the ban was lifted,” said KFA chief Ahmad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah on Saturday.
“The general asssembly (of local clubs) chose us ... but as I’ve previously mentioned, we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the ban not to be imposed again,” Sabah said — appearing to raise the possibility of his own resignation if required by the oversight committee.
The appointment of the normalization committee, announced Friday, follows the lifting of Kuwait’s suspension for political meddling in the sport on December 5.
The committee mandate, according to a FIFA statement, is “to run the KFA’s daily affairs; to review the KFA statutes and ensure their compliance... [and] to organize and conduct elections of a new KFA board of directors on the basis of the new, revised KFA statutes, which should take place no later than 20 May 2018.”
World sports bodies led by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee suspended Kuwait in October 2015 for the second time since 2010 over alleged government meddling in sport.
The suspensions meant Kuwait missed out on the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup, and before that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In early December, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a new law in line with FIFA’s requirements.


Ronaldo faces multi-million tax fraud fine in Madrid court

Updated 22 January 2019
0

Ronaldo faces multi-million tax fraud fine in Madrid court

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Madrid for a court date on Tuesday in which he could be fined 18.8 million euros ($21.4 million) for tax fraud as part of a deal reached with the Spanish taxman.
As part of an agreement arranged in June with the former Real Madrid hero’s lawyers, prosecutors are also asking that the Portuguese attacker, who last summer left the Spanish capital for Italian champions Juventus, be handed a 23-month jail sentence.
However Ronaldo would not spend a day in prison as sentences of up to two years are generally not enforced in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.
The hearing, due to start at 9:50 am (0850 GMT), is expected to last just a few minutes as the deal is officially presented to the judge.
He in turn will give the final sentence on Tuesday or the coming days, according to a spokesman for the court in northern Madrid.
Ronaldo will not be given special treatment when he arrives and will have to climb up the courthouse steps amid a likely media scrum despite the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s lawyers asking he be allowed to enter the building by car to avoid the spotlight.
The court president refused the request, saying that despite his “great fame,” he wouldn’t “compromise security” at the building, according to a court document.
His request to appear via videoconference was also denied.

Denial
Madrid prosecutors opened a probe into Ronaldo in June 2017 and he was questioned in July that same year.
“I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes,” he told the court then, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.
Prosecutors accuse him of having used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions — notably the British Virgin Islands and Ireland — to avoid having to pay the tax due in Spain on his image rights between 2011 and 2014.
His lawyers said there had been a difference in interpretation of what was and was not taxable in Spain.
The deal between Spain’s taxman and his lawyers has allowed Ronaldo to avoid having to sit through a long trial that could have damaged his image and seen him handed a heftier sentence.
Ronaldo is not the only footballer to have fallen foul of Spain’s tax authorities.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, once Ronaldo’s big La Liga rival, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.
The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros, equivalent to 400 euros per day of the original term.

Accused of rape
But Ronaldo’s legal wrangles won’t be over after a probe was opened in the United States in October after a former American model accused him of raping her in Las Vegas in 2009.
Police in the western US city recently asked Italian authorities for a DNA sample from the footballer.
Ronaldo has always strenuously denied the accusations.
In a New Year’s Eve interview with Portuguese sports daily Record, he said he had a “calm conscience” and was “confident that everything will very soon be clarified.”