Barcelona president Sandro Rosell resigns: Neymar court case behind exit

An investigation is taking place into the transfer of the Brazil striker

Barcelona

Barcelona’s Neymar crisis deepened last night when president Sandro Rosell resigned just three weeks before the club face Manchester City in the Champions League. After an emergency board meeting at the Nou Camp, the former Nike executive – who took over from Joan Laporta in 2010 – confirmed he was leaving his post with immediate effect.

Rosell said: “My time at Barcelona has finished. Everything we have said about the Neymar transfer is correct but I do not want unjust attacks to affect the club. The signing [of Neymar] has provoked the envy of our rivals.”

Rosell will be replaced by his vice-president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who will now have to see the club through the complaint filed, by one of their own supporters Jordi Casas, against the Barcelona board for the much-heralded transfer of Neymar from Santos to Barcelona last summer.

Rosell had always maintained that Barcelona paid €57m (£46.9m) for Neymar – €17.1m to his club Santos and €40m to a company owned by the player’s father called N&N.

But some supporters questioned why the club had paid such a large sum to the player’s father and when Casas asked Rosell to explain the €40m payment he was not given an answer.

He filed a complaint that Judge Pablo Ruz accepted on Wednesday, meaning there will now be a full investigation with further documentation requested and the club’s president possibly called to give evidence. That would now be Bartomeu instead of Rosell.

The original payment of €40m to N&N remains at the heart of the complaint, with Rosell accused of misappropriation of funds, an offence that can carry a prison sentence.

It was agreed in a contract signed with N&N in 2011 that Barcelona would purchase Neymar in 2014 when he was due to become a free agent.

Because the player arrived in 2013, when he was still not a free agent and part-owned by Santos, the €40m was paid as a penalty for breaking the agreement with N&N to sign the player this year. But if this penalty payment is not legally watertight it will remain a payment that cannot be accounted for and could be seen as a way of bolstering Neymar’s wages. The player receives €5m (£4.12m) net a year but if the €40m paid to N&N were counted as wages that figure would increase to €13m (£10.7m) a year.

That would be of great interest to tax authorities keen to take their 52 per cent of Neymar’s wages.

The case is made all the more complicated by third-party ownership. It is understood that as many as 12 contracts were exchanged as Neymar moved from Santos to Barça last June. Rosell has argued that only payments of €17.1m to Santos and €40m to N&N correspond to the Neymar transfer.

But Barcelona are also understood to have signed a €2.6m commission to Neymar’s father for the negotiation of his deal; a contract worth €2m for another Neymar-owned company to look for new talent in Brazil; a contract worth €4m to find new commercial partners for Barcelona in Brazil; and a payment of €2.5m to a Neymar foundation set up to help poor neighbourhoods in Sao Paulo.

Barcelona argue these contracts have nothing to do with buying Neymar but as it is money going from the club to a company owned by the player, again it could be interpreted as disguised wages.

Judge Ruz also wants to see the two agreements with  Santos: one to play two friendlies with Barcelona and another for preferential rights over three players that  total €16.9m.

Read more:
Barcelona's Neymar saga: You want to sign our son? That will be 40 million euros, please  
Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones