FC Barcelona might have failed to sign Neymar from Paris Saint Germain, but the two are now set to meet in the court of law.
According to the Spanish outlet AS, Neymar will meet the club on September 27 at 10 in the morning in a court room in Barcelona, with Neymar suing Barcelona for 26 million euros, while Barcelona are suing Neymar for 75 million euros.
The story goes back to Neymar’s days in Spain. In 2016, the Brazilian signed a contract renewal. For renewing his contract, Neymar was to receive a 40 million euro bonus which the club would pay in two installments. An immediate payment of 14 million euros with the remaining sum of for 26 million being transferred to the player’s bank account at a later date.
But Barcelona soon realized that Neymar could leave them to join PSG. As a safeguarding measure, the club’s board entrusted a cheque for 26 million euros with a third party – a notary public. When sports lawyer Juan de Dios Crespo deposited a cheque for 222 million euros, corresponding to Neymar’s release clause, at LaLiga’s headquarters in Madrid, Barcelona returned to the notary public and retrieved their cheque for 26 million, stating that they were no longer bound to pay it. Josep Vives, spokesman for the Barçelona board, had justified the decision then by saying, “Neymar was fully aware that we would honour the signing-on bonus on three conditions: 1. That the player would not negotiate with another club during the month of July up to and including the 31st; 2. That he would publicly express his decision to complete his contract with Barça, and 3. The payment would be made on 1 September, to ensure he would not leave to join another club. As those conditions have not been met, the club will not liquidate the renewal bonus arrangement”.
While Neymar wants to claim his pending bonus, Barcelona are with their conception that the player had breached his contract with the club.
The case has been running since then. Earlier this year, FIFA rejected to look over the case.
A statement released by FIFA at the time read, “After having been made aware that, apparently, the same matter had been submitted in parallel before different jurisdictions by the same party, the FIFA administration informed the parties to the dispute that based on the long-standing and well-established jurisprudence of FIFA’s deciding bodies, it did not seem to be in a position to continue with the investigation of the affair. The proceedings were therefore closed for formal reasons.”
It is now up to the civil courts in Barcelona to decide. After quite a few changes in the date for the hearing, it will now finally take place on September 27.
Had Neymar returned to Barcelona during the transfer window, it was expected that both the parties could agree on dropping the case, but with the Brazilian forward staying in Paris, the legal battle should continue.