Pete Jenson: The Nou Camp may one day have a mausoleum but Barcelona hope Neymar deal does not return to haunt them

A Different League: The Brazilian's fee was originally quoted as €57m but a court has heard the true cost to the Catalan giants was €100m

It's difficult to know whether to take news that Barcelona want to accommodate their supporters after death by offering 30,000 urns to be kept in the redesigned Nou Camp as well-meaning sentimentality or just more shrewd business.

For a sizeable fee, fans can spend all of eternity (well not quite eternity, €6,000 gets you 90 years) in the Barcelona mausoleum. Club insiders say they hope it will put an end to the practice of trying to obey a loved one's dying wish by disposing of their ashes on the sly during a guided tour of the stadium.

The remodelled Nou Camp, with its in-built mausoleum, will also carry a sponsor's name. If the last big club in Europe to give in to shirt sponsorship is willing to accept a brand name on its stadium then anyone can. Barça have also sold the space on the inside of their famous shirts. Every euro counts when it's €100m (£82m) not €57m (£48m) you are paying for Neymar.

No doubt when the case that Judge Pablo Ruz admitted to court is finally heard, Barcelona will argue they did nothing wrong when they paid Neymar and N&N, the company owned by the player and his father, €40m (£32.7m). Third-party ownership is after all legal in South America and if N&N part-owned the player's registration, were they not in a position to negotiate a fee, be it as a bonus for signing as a free agent in 2014, or as a penalty for signing before?

Barcelona also paid Neymar's father a €2.6m (£2.1m) commission for negotiating a contract that guarantees a minimum of €54m (£44m) in wages over five years but there is no legislation against agents charging commissions or being related to players.

Will anyone be able to prove that a deal worth €2m (£1.65m) over the next five years for another Neymar-owned company to look for new talent in Brazil is not perfectly genuine? Or that another worth €4m (£3.3m) for them to find new commercial partners for Barcelona in Brazil is also not valid?

Can it be proved that a payment of €7.9m (£6.5m) for preferential rights on three Santos players or the €9m (£7.4m) for two friendlies were not separate from the transfer?

And can it be shown that another contract with another Neymar organisation to help the poorest neighbourhoods in Sao Paulo worth €2.5m (£2.05m) has not been set up to do exactly that? Even if it was not the case before, you can imagine an army of social workers armed with Barça shirts and plans for new football pitches in the favelas, heading for Sao Paulo as soon as judge Ruz decided to hear the case.

The Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, has been put in an embarrassing position but it may well be impossible to prove that all monies destined for the Neymars were really just disguised wages and ought to be taxed at 52 per cent.

Or that the other monies going to Santos might not also be part of the transfer fee, thus increasing the percentage owed to other third parties who also had a stake in the player?

Barcelona say they have done nothing more than use "business engineering" in a deal that may have involved as many as 12 different contracts. And as long as transfers exist in a fairly unregulated state where it seems anything goes, there is plenty of scope for that.

The only thing that goes on rising as steadily as transfer values is ticket prices. Some Manchester City fans say it will cost them less to fly to Barcelona next month than it will to get into the game.

Perhaps it is fitting then that it was a fan who provoked the Neymar transfer investigation. Pharmacist and Barça supporter Jordi Cases wanted to know what the €40m payment to N&N had been for. Only when the club ignored his requests for transparency did he take his complaint to the courts, unaware of where the paper trail would lead.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain