The Spanish soccer league has decided cash doesn’t rule everything around its version of the beautiful game.
La Liga announced Thursday in a statement it has rejected Neymar’s and Paris Saint-Germain’s representatives’ attempts to pay his €222 million (£197.3 million/$257 million) contract-buyout clause, which would free him to join PSG from FC Barcelona in a record-shattering transfer. La Liga reportedly is suspicious of the origins of the money and is adamant that Qatar-owned PSG will violate UEFA’s financial-fair-play rules if Neymar completes his transfer.
“We can confirm that the player’s lawyers came to the La Liga offices this morning to deposit the clause and that it has been rejected,” La Liga said, according to The Guardian’s Sid Lowe. “That’s all the information we are giving out at this moment.”
Barcelona refused The Associated Press’ request for comment and is “waiting to see how the situation develops,” according to The BBC’s Matt Davis.
However, PSG is confident La Liga’s decision will delay, but not prevent, Neymar’s transfer, according to Sky Sports’ Bryan Swanson and The BBC’s Richard Conway.
Spain-based players normally buy themselves out of their contracts via payments received from buying clubs, and La Liga facilitates transfers by accepting deposits and forwarding them to the selling club.
The French League on Thursday called on La Liga to carry out its normal duties.
UEFA’s financial fair play rules forbid clubs from losing more than €30 million (£27 million/$35 million) over a three-year period and can sanction those that do so.
La Liga president Javier Tebas vowed Wednesday to reject PSG’s payment on these grounds and also also seems ready to fight Neymar’s transfer in various courts.
“The complaint is ready and will be presented to UEFA, the European Union and the Swiss courts,” Tebas told Spanish Newspaper AS, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Johnson. “Basically, the complaint will be over unfair competition and against teams that receive financial injections from owners that ‘gift’ players to their fans by taking them away from others. PSG are a clear example of ‘financial doping’ by club/state.
“PSG’s accounts reflect that they have more commercial income than Real Madrid or Manchester United, which is to say that their brand value is bigger than these two clubs. Well, that is impossible.”
UEFA told ESPN on Thursday it hasn’t received a complaint from La Liga or Barcelona.
“The transfer of Neymar to PSG will have an effect on the club’s finances over several years, but the impact of such an operation cannot be judged in advance — notably as PSG could well sell several players for a significant amount.
“We shall therefore only make calculations at the end and make sure that they respect the rules.”
It would be unprecedented for European soccer’s governing body to preemptively punish a club for violating rules.
The saga continues, and time will tell if courts will be required to free Neymar to make his lucrative move to Paris.
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