Liverpool £40m transfer hits unexpected and furry-faced snag in unheard of turn of events due to Saudi law

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Fabinho could scrap his £40 million Saudi move if the country won’t allow his dogs to make the move with him.

Liverpool star Fabinho may see his £40 million move to Saudi Arabia this summer go to the dogs after off-the-pitch complications have caused a major snag in the deal.

The midfielder is the latest big name that Jurgen Klopp is allowing to leave this summer in a big clearout provoked by last season’s disappointing Premier League showing - the Brazilian follows James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and seemingly soon Jordan Henderson to leave Anfield this transfer window.

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Fabinho is on the verge of completing a move to Nuno Espirito Santos’ Al-Itiihad to play alongside Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante, but the star may not be able to take his two French bulldogs across the border.

The 29-year-old is reportedly unwilling to put pen to paper on his Saudi contract until he receives assurances that his four-legged family will be able to make the move to the land of money alongside him.

Saudi Arabia may not have laws allowing for women’s equality or same-sex relationships, but the country draws a hard line when it comes to the breed of dog allowed on its turf. ‘Dangerous and aggressive’ dogs are not allowed in the country with Rottweilers and Pit Bulls banned and Fabinho’s Frenchies may be grouped with the latter.

In a document that appeared to leak on Twitter labelled ‘Bringing pets to Saudi Arabia’, it states that dogs are only allowed in the country if they are to be used for hunting, to serve as a guide dog or if they are ‘eye-seeing dogs’ for the blind.

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Fabinho is not the only Liverpool star reportedly on the verge of a move to Saudi Arabia, with Jordan Henderson also linked with a controversial move to the Middle East.

Rumours of the club captain’s move has angered Liverpool fans online after the midfielder had taken such an ardent stance as an ally defending the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

Henderson was named Football Ally of the Year at the LGBT Awards in 2021 and had written passionate letters of support to the LGBTQ+ community in programme notes over the years.

The 33-year-old once wrote: “My view on this is very much the same as on any other form of discrimination in the game, whether it relates to race, religious intolerance, disability or any other. I have never personally experienced any of these injustices in my life until now, so I can never and would never claim to have an understanding like those who suffer from the ignorance of others.

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“But I do believe when you see something that is clearly wrong and makes another human being feel excluded you should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them. You also have a responsibility to educate yourself better around the challenges they experience.

Jordan Henderson has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights (Image: Getty Images)Jordan Henderson has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights (Image: Getty Images)
Jordan Henderson has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights (Image: Getty Images)

“That’s where my own position on homophobia in football is rooted. Before I’m a footballer, I’m a parent, a husband, a son, a brother and a friend to the people in my life who matter so much to me. The idea that any of them would feel excluded from playing or attending a football match, simply for being and identifying as who they are, blows my mind.”

In Saudi Arabia, same-sex sexual activity is prohibited under Sharia law and can be punishable by death. Transgender people can also be prosecuted for failing to follow strict Saudi dress codes imposed by the law.

Human Dignity Trust reports ‘substantial evidence’ of the law being enforced in recent years with LGBTQ+ people frequently arrested, with some executed for their sexuality.

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There have also been ‘consistent reports of discrimination and violence being committed against LGBTQ+ people in recent years, including murder, assault, harassment, and the denial of basic rights and services’.

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