Oh boy, aren’t you overwhelmed with the recent allegations, trials, miscommunications, hidden transfer fees and all things related to Barcelona’s acquisition of Neymar? I certainly am. But after going through several reports and some legal documents I may have cracked, where this saga could be leading.
Before hand, check the following timeline if you aren’t so sure where the situation stands at the moment, or if you are reading about this news for the first time. But if you are confident of your understanding behind this issue, go ahead and skip through the dates.
Barcelona deposited 10 million euros in the hands of Neymar’s father, who is also his agent, so the Catalan club would have preference in a future trading negotiation with Santos FC, Neymar’s former club from Brazil.
May 26, 2013
Neymar faces off Flamengo in Brasilia for his last time wearing the Santos’ jersey. The match ended with no goals from either side.
Neymar appears in Barcelona for a packed Camp Nou.
Jordi Cases, a member of the Blaugrana club, presented a complaint against, at the time, president of Barca, Sandro Rosell, claiming that Rosell had paid 40 million euros to Neymar’s father. But earlier this year, Cases withdrew the accusation.
January 20, 2014
The Spanish Justice decides to investigate the secret contract negotiation between Neymar and Barcelona.
January 20, 2014
Allegations from multiple reports say that Neymar’s final transfer fee was 95 million euros instead of the publicized 57 million.
January 23, 2014
Going through an investigation in Spain Rosell resigned as president of Barcelona.
January 24, 2014
Barca’s new president, Jose Maria Bartholomew, admits that the Catalan powerhouse spent more on the newly acquired player than it was disclosed. Putting Neymar as the third most expensive player in history.
January 28, 2014
The father of Neymar admits the value of 40 million euros. He also explained that 10 million euros given in 2011 were a guarantee that Barcelona had priority in the trade.
January 29, 2014
Through Neymar’s official website, the player claimed that a document signed by Santos’ former president, Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, also known as Laor, pre-authorized a transfer contract in 2011.
January 30, 2014
A suspicion of tax evasion arose and the public prosecutor’s office from Spain requests information about N & N Sports, Neymar Sr.’s company.
January 30, 2014
Santos requested access to documentation about the trade involving Neymar for clarification. DIS, a sports group and owner of parts of the economical rights from the striker, asked for more explanation as well.
January 31, 2014
FIFA was asked to deliver data regarding the transfer, but the institution said that it would only deliver the documentation under international appeal.
February 12, 2014
Santos had the request for review, of the documentation from Barcelona, denied. The judge of the civil court in Brazil, Gustavo Antonio, denied Santos’ third attempt to get access to information about the sale of Neymar.
February 19, 2014
The prosecutor of the Audiencia Nacional, the main body of the justice of Spain, asked to open an investigation against Barcelona on the account of tax crimes in hiring Neymar. On the same day, after Neymar Sr. had been criticized by Laor.
February 19, 2014
Barcelona releases an official statement concerning the tax crime allegation:
“In light of reports appearing in today’s press concerning the transfer process carried out to bring Neymar da Silva Santos Junior to the Club, FC Barcelona would like to state:
1) The Club’s dealings with respect to this operation, and in light of all information available, was at all times in line with the relevant legal legislation
2) Represented by its lawyers, the Club will appear at the Jutjat Central d’Instrucció number 5 within the next few days in order to defend its interests and rights.
3) We express our total willingness to collaborate with the Justice authorities in this matter, as we have done since the first moment the issue arose and in any other area in which our presence may be required.”
February 20, 2014
Neymar comes publicly through his Instagram account to react to former Santos’ president comments.
“Once again I am taking the liberty of speaking of a matter that has gone over the lines,” Neymar wrote on his official Instagram account. Today I understand why my friend Ganso didn’t stay in Santos: it wasn’t because he didn’t like the club or didn’t want to play for Santos, but because of the board of directors! I always respected all of them and I have been extremely professional. I’m utterly disappointed with former president LAOR and the current one, Odilio. But mostly, LAOR, whom I have always treated with utmost affection and admiration. I’m a fan of my father and I’ll continue to be for having taken me to where I am today and if he made millions over that, what’s the problem? He worked, he didn’t wait for anything to fall from the skies. I’m done with them. I’m sorry Santos fans, but two people will not make my affection for Santos go away.”
According to FoxNews Latino, Spanish prosecutor, Jose Perals, has said that the Catalan club paid 37.9 million euros for Neymar, and 24.7 percent of that should have gone as non-resident taxes. However, Perals claimed that Barca have only passed 24.7 percent of the 8.5 million euros.
In addition, the American news outlet also pointed out, via EFE, that Barça “can discharge any civil liability” if they agree in a payment amount with the tax authorities. Yet criminal prosecution wouldn’t be out of sight from the Blaugrana.
If you thought that either party would be fading down by now, make no mistake. In case Santos lose for a fourth time in the judicial system, at this time from abroad, Cristiano Caús, the club’s attorney will head to FIFA.
“We have been cautions with the judicial steps. Entering FIFA, is to enter all, and I am in favor, but we have to be certain of what we are asking for. This approach, (appealing to FIFA), will be the next step,” said the lawyer, according to news portal Terra.com.
And Caús continued mentioning the 2011 contract signed by Laor: “What Neymar’s father demanded was a breach of international law (when he asked for the document by Luis Alvaro, president of Santos). Neymar needed to sign a pre-contract. Santos were giving an authorization to him (Neymar’s father), so he would not be punished by FIFA, but not so he could receive the money.”
This case was not the only accusation of tax violation a Blaugrana player suffered in 2013.
Lionel Messi was also in the spotlight. The Argentinian and his father paid Spanish authorities 5 million euros as a “corrective payment,” in May of last year, according to Forbes.
Although Messi’s case did not directly involve Barcelona, and Neymar’s certainly did, just the fact that two of their most valuable and internationally recognized players have been accused of violating the law, paints a negative reputation with players and clubs yet to come and arrange business with the Catalan side.
The desire of a player to perform for the Blaugrana won’t change any time soon, but what kind of person would be willing to go through a troubling and mysterious mediation to transfer to a new club knowing that his image could be jeopardized. Also, clubs may start rethinking their eagerness to send off a young talent to Barcelona, if this would mean that they would not only sign a millionaire contract but a term for a law suit.
The latest appearance matter as much as the first one, so if Barca can’t bust their books and provide crystal clear negotiations from now on with any team as well as player, national and international rivals could capitalize in their own mistakes. And losses will come in and out of the pitch for the Catalan side.