Salem Al-Dawsari leads Saudi Arabian players going on loan at La Liga clubs

Saudi Arabian international Salem Al-Dawsari has joined Villarreal on loan until the end of the season. (Photo: villarrealcf.es)
Updated 21 January 2018
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Salem Al-Dawsari leads Saudi Arabian players going on loan at La Liga clubs

LONDON: Saudi Arabian international Salem Al-Dawsari will play on loan at La Liga’s Villarreal until the end of the season, the Spanish club have announced.
The loan move is part of an agreement between La Liga, the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia and the Federation of Saudi Arabia to give Saudi players European experience ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer.
The 26-year-old winger will join from Al-Hilal, where he has played a total of 161 games in which he scored 28 goals and has made 23 assists.
Al-Dawsari has made 17 appearances for his country, scoring two goals.
He is one of several players to make a move to the Spanish league this weekend, with Yahia Al-Shehri also moving on loan to Leganés from Al-Nasr and Nouh Al-Mousa, who has gone on loan at Real Valladolid from Al-Fateh.
Levante from the top flight, alongside second division outfits Gijon and Rayo Vallecano also simultaneously announced on Sunday they had signed a Saudi Arabian player.
For the Spanish clubs, the loans are a way to gain exposure in a little-tapped market.
"With Yahia Al-Shehri's arrival, the club has improved its squad and also gained visibility in the Arab world," Leganes said in a statement.


Former UEFA head Platini detained in Qatar World Cup probe

Updated 11 min 38 sec ago
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Former UEFA head Platini detained in Qatar World Cup probe

  • Platini’s lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent of all charges
  • Decision in December 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar surprised many

PARIS: Michel Platini, the former head of European football association UEFA, was detained for questioning by French police on Tuesday over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup football tournament to Qatar, a judicial source told Reuters.

Platini’s lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent of all charges. The detention of the former football star was first reported by French investigative website Mediapart.

France’s national financial prosecutor’s office, which specializes in investigating economic crimes and corruption, has been leading a probe into the awarding of the 2022 tournament to the Gulf emirate since 2016.

It is looking into possible offenses including private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling.

UEFA declined to comment, while officials with Qatar’s organizing committee could not immediately be reached.

The decision in December 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar surprised many given the lack of potential local audiences for the games, the extremely hot summer weather, and the poor performance of the country’s national squad. It will be the first Arab state to host the competition.

Le Monde newspaper reported that prosecutors were particularly looking into a lunch hosted by France’s then president, Nicolas Sarkozy, nine days before the vote that awarded the cup to Qatar. Platini and Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani, who was Qatar’s prime minister and is now the country’s emir, were guests at the lunch.

Platini has since acknowledged that he supported Qatar over a rival bid from the United States in the vote, but said Sarkozy “never asked him to,” the newspaper said.

Two of Sarkozy’s aides at that time, then Elysee secretary general Claude Gueant and Sarkozy’s adviser for sports Sophie Dion, were also questioned by police on Tuesday, judicial sources confirmed to Reuters. Dion remains detained with Platini. Gueant is a “free suspect,” the source said.

The lawyer for Gueant, who later became interior minister, was not immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for Sarkozy declined to comment. A lawyer for Dion could not immediately be reached for comment.

Under French law, suspects can be held for questioning for up to 48 hours.

Platini was forced to leave his job as UEFA chief after he was investigated in another case over 1.8 million Swiss francs ($1.8 million) that he received from FIFA, the world governing body of football, in 2011. He was cleared in that case.

As a player in the 1970s and 1980s, Platini was a prolific striker, mainly for Saint-Etienne in France and Juventus in Italy. He played in three world cups, captaining the national squad to the semifinals in both 1982 and 1986.