Saudi Arabia prohibits the practice of couples cohabiting or living together without being married. However, there is an exception for Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo/REUTERS
RIYADH – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia adheres to strict sharia or Islamic law, including forbidding couples from living together without marriage ties. However, Riyadh gave an exception to football stars from Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo .
The exception to Ronaldo’s “hangout” ban was deemed an added bonus after he struck a high-profile deal with Saudi club Al Nassr for the most expensive single contract in football history.
Ronaldo, 37, signed a two-and-a-half year contract at the end of December with Al Nassr, a Saudi Pro League team, whose annual salary is reported to be £175 million per year.
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Ronaldo’s long-term partner, Argentine-born Spanish model Georgina Rodriguez, was beside him at last week’s lavish welcome. Rodriguez and will live with Ronaldo in Riyadh with their five children, two of which he has with Rodriguez.
However, Ronaldo’s initial foray into Saudi life came with a hurdle: strict Islamic law strictly prohibits “cohabitation without a marriage contract”.
But according to two Saudi Arabian legal experts who spoke to TYC Sports Spain, the Saudi government has agreed to make an exception for Ronaldo and Rodriguez because of the global intrigue and increased profile that Ronaldo’s signing with Al Nassr has brought to the Saudi football world.
“Although royal law still prohibits cohabitation without a marriage contract, the authorities have recently started turning a blind eye and are no longer prosecuting anyone,” said one of the experts.
“Even though this law is used when there is a problem or a crime,” he said, as reported by Russia Today, Wednesday (11/1/2023).
Another expert added: “Nowadays the Saudi authorities no longer interfere in this matter – for expatriates – even though the law prohibits living together without being married.”