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ENRIC FONTCUBERTA

The serious economic risk of the rupture between Leo Messi and FC Barcelona

The Argentine is exposed to a fine of more than 850,000 euros and the suspension of employment and salary if he insists on not training

Leo Messi did not go to the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper this Sunday to undergo the PCR tests with which the first team of Barcelona started the season. Nor will he appear today to participate in the first training session of Ronald Koeman’s new project. Not on Tuesday. Not on Wednesday. Nothing should change because for the Rosario everything was settled in his burofax.

They understand the advisers of the footballer who is no longer hired by Barcelona. They even affirm that the termination clause of 700 million euros to which the club refers is not valid this season, alluding to the fact that the contract specifies that said compensation should not be applied as long as the player breaks his relationship after the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year. Something that Barça denies, which insists that this last year is not optional, as defended by Messi’s lawyers, so it concludes that there is no other starting price than 700 million.

Messi, in any case, insists on meeting with the Bartomeu government due to the serious risk that the conflict will end in a social court in Barcelona. A scenario as uncertain as it is dangerous for both parties, no matter how literal the escape clause executed by Messi – “before June 10”, is specified in the document that should have communicated his departure – can support Barça. Another thing is the price of compensation that the court in the office could set. From the 700 million euros of termination clause that, according to Barça, are fully valid until June 30, to a significantly lower figure in which aspects such as the player’s age (33), the time remaining contract (one season), but also the consequent economic impact of unilateral termination. Even free liberation, as the Argentine defends.

FINANCIAL HOLE
The one who is clear about the financial hole that Messi’s departure in the competition could leave is Javier Tebas, president of the employer’s association. Even more so for the next negotiation for television rights, which will go on sale in less than a year. In 2018, Telefónica won the bid to broadcast LaLiga Santander until the conclusion of the 2021-2022 season with a contract of 2,940 million euros (980 million per year). A-League without Messi, but also without Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar, would reinforce the claims of the operators in a market that already seemed doomed to depreciate due to the effects of the pandemic. In fact, Telefónica obtained a 15% annual reduction for the television broadcasting rights of the Champions and the Europa League for the next three seasons (975 million euros per year).

It was not surprising then that LaLiga has positioned itself so strongly in favor of the interests of Barcelona. After letting Bartomeu know that he would be on his side, the employers sent a statement in which he assured that Rosario’s contract with the Barça club “is currently in force, with a termination clause [700 million euros] applicable to the allegations that it decided to urge the early unilateral termination of it. “

The bosses did not stop there. He even threatened Messi with preventing him from playing for another club while the conflict is resolved. “LaLiga will not carry out the prior visa procedure for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount of said clause.” Something that, however, contravenes the jurisprudence handled by FIFA. The highest international body prioritizes the right to work over any contractual skirmish, so Messi’s advisers consider that, once a provisional transfer has been requested, LaLiga and its legal department could not veto its processing.. It would be the ordinary justice, therefore, who would end up solving after Barcelona’s complaint, without this preventing that during the investigation of the Messi case he could continue with his sports career wherever he considered.

THE PROVISIONAL TRANSFER OF FIFA
A solution, this one, also full of risks. Even for the club that decided to sign the striker, who would be subsidiary responsible for the compensation, according to FIFA regulations, and who would be obliged to provide for those expenses until there is a final ruling. It could take years.

Meanwhile, Barcelona values ​​the first steps to take after seeing how Messi did not attend his first working day of the season. On the board, pending the meeting with the patriarch of the Messi family, they continue to hope in the rectification of the footballer. They are in contact with him. Without losing sight, yes, of the sanctioning regime that establishes the Collective Agreement for the Professional Soccer Activity. In its Disciplinary Regulations (Annex V) minor offenses are regulated (“not notifying the club or SAD in advance the reason for the absence from work”). The burofax sent by Messi frees him here, but he would not do so – always according to Barcelona’s criteria – in terms of «serious» («first and second unjustified lack of attendance at work) and« very serious »(a from the third absence).

In the worst case, as long as Messi is absent from his working day for the third day, the sanctioning regime is forceful. Suspension of employment and salary from 11 to 30 days is included. But also a fine of up to 25% of the monthly salary in the first 100,000 euros, but which should be completed with a maximum range of between 6.67% and 10% of the excess of the payroll. Considering that the Argentine’s gross monthly salary is around 8.3 million euros gross, according to a France Football report, the penalty could reach 855,000 euros. Even the Convention admits the possibility of dismissal in its sanctioning regime.

The club studies the fan and keeps a cool head. Messi does not even think about collecting his next payroll. He feels that he is no longer from Barça.

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