x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Neymar move from Santos to Barcelona comes under scrutiny

Board member turns in his club's own president

Neymar's move from Santos to Barcelona is being examined by Spanish and European authorities. Josep Lago / AFP
Neymar's move from Santos to Barcelona is being examined by Spanish and European authorities. Josep Lago / AFP

Neymar is enjoying a solid first season at Barcelona on the pitch, but there is discord off the field regarding his contract.

In fact, Spanish prosecutors have asked to see his contract amid allegations of embezzlement.

Barcelona claim they spent €57 million (Dh287.7m) on the Brazilian, yet his former club, Santos, state that they received only €17.1 million. The huge difference is lost in a muddle of allegations surrounding third-party ownership, future transfers and friendly matches between the clubs and payments to the player’s father.

Deals involving South American players who are part-owned by third parties are opaque, yet Neymar’s deal appears unduly complicated and has attracted the attention of the courts.

The supermarket chain DIS paid €2.8m for 40 per cent of Neymar’s image rights and want to know why they have received little money from his huge transfer. In an unedifying case, Barcelona admit paying €10 million to Neymar’s father in 2011 to ensure that the player would choose the Catalans over Real Madrid, who also wanted to sign him.

Given that the player was contracted to another club, that is an infringement of Fifa regulations. Santos claim Neymar’s father did not take the money, while the Barca president Sandro Rosell said: “We paid €17.5 million to Santos and €40 million to an association who owned the rights to Neymar.”

That company is called Neymar & Neymar, which is owned by the player and his father.

Rosell has been reported by the Barcelona board member Jordi Cases for “inappropriate use” of club funds, but his attempts for a vote of no confidence in Rosell did not raise sufficient support.

Cases alleges that Barcelona have effectively paid a €40 million signing-on fee to the player, which, if true, would be liable to taxes that could push the total transfer cost to more than €100 million. If that figure were to include the wages in the five-year contract, it would be €124m.

There are other payments linked to the transfer, which include €7.9 million to Santos for preferential rights to three promising Santos players, plus a friendly game where Barcleona would have to pay €4.5 million if they cannot fulfil the fixture.

Barca are likely to face an unlikely first – that of their two principal strikers, Lionel Messi being the other, both facing court cases in the same season.