Officials handling Neymar’s world record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain have been seen arriving at and leaving La Liga’s Madrid offices as the controversy over their €222m [£198m] offer continues to develop.
La Liga have been vocal in their attempt to block the deal from going through under Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules, but the governing body confirmed that they have no jurisdiction to do so and that they cannot stand in the way of PSG – or anyone else – triggering the £198m release clause.
Five men, including Spanish sports lawyer Juan de Dios Crespo, were seen arriving at the La Liga offices on Thursday morning with what was reported to be a bank document confirming the offer that will be made to activate the 25-year-old’s release clause, before leaving the building soon after.
The La Liga president, Javier Tebas, has been vocal in his promise to block the deal even though he cannot do so, and La Liga soon confirmed after the group’s departure that the Spanish league had attempted to do exactly that by rejecting the offer.
“We can confirm that the lawyers of the player (Neymar) have come to La Liga to deposit the clause and that it has been rejected. It is all the information we will give so far,” a La Liga statement read.
While La Liga cannot block the move given it is the activation of a release clause within Neymar’s contract, Barcelona can make an official complaint to Uefa if they feel that an indiscretion has taken place, or Uefa can choose to investigate if they suspect any wrongdoing.
All five refused to entertain questions from the Spanish press in attendance outside the offices, and left in a black people carrier immediately.
The attempted block triggered a negative response from the French league [LFP], which threw its support behind PSG and its attempt to sign the former Santos player, adding it looks forward to seeing him ply his trade in Ligue 1.
“The LFP is surprised and does not understand the refusal of the Liga to simply accept the payment of the release clause of Neymar,” a statement read.
“The LFP asks the Liga to abide by the Fifa rules and its responsibilities. The LFP supports Paris Saint-Germain and wishes Neymar to join the Ligue 1 championship.
“The legal services of the LFP are in support and at the disposal of Paris Saint-Germain so that the Neymar contract is approved as soon as possible.
Uefa issued a statement to confirm that the rules of FFP remain “exceptionally serious” and that it will ensure “all clubs must abide by the rules of FFP or face the consequences”.
“Uefa is exceptionally serious about the enforcement of FFP and keen that its success in stabilising the finances of European football continues.”
However, the governing body will not inspect PSG’s account until the summer of 2018 at the earliest given that the FFP deadline for this year has already passed on the 17 June. They will therefore inspect the Parisian club’s finances next year in order to ensure that they have not breached the regulation that states that any club under their jurisdiction cannot make losses in excess of €30m [£26.8m] over a three-year period.
PSG have already been sanctioned by Uefa over an FFP rule breach when they were fined €20m in 2014. There have been suggestions that the Ligue 1 club could explore potential loopholes in the regulations to try and avoid any activity that would raise a red flag, such as Neymar becoming an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the same country as where PSG’s owners hail from, in order to buy-out his own contract and avoid the money directly leaving the club’s accounts.
This is not possible though due to Article 72 of the FFP regulations, which was installed in order to prevent this and other methods of clubs getting around FFP restrictions.
If PSG were found guilty of such a rule breach when they are inspected next year, they could face another large fine or be expelled from European competition for a determined length of time.
PSG raised €13m [£11.6m] from the sale of Jean-Kevin Augustin this summer to RB Leipzig, but while Dani Alves arrived on a free transfer from Juventus, the Parisian's also signed defender Yuri Berchiche from Real Sociedad for around €16m [£14.3m], meaning that their transfer outlay is already in the negative. This is, of course, allowed to be funded through commercial and sponsor deals, as well as the maximum of €30m of owner investment.
Neymar is expected to arrive in Paris this week after undergoing a medical in Porto on Wednesday, with the Parisians keen to unveil him before this weekend’s Ligue 1 opener against Amiens.
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