Barcelona to face trial after Neymar transfer case approved

Current president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, face custodial sentences for tax crimes while the club could be handed a heavy fine

Barcelona are set to be summoned to court after Spanish judge Jose de la Mata approved the decision to put the club and a number of individuals on trial for tax irregularities over their transfer deal to sign Neymar.

De la Mata has confirmed current club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, will face a trial for alleged tax crimes suggesting they paid more for the player than they revealed to tax authorities.

Brazil captain Neymar was the subject of the controversial switch from Santos in 2013 in a deal that ultimately saw then Barca president Rosell resign from his position.

The charges stem from alleged unpaid taxes from a number of fees paid to third parties, including a €40 million fee paid to N&N, a company owned by the player’s father.

The original fee quoted for the deal stood at around €57.1m, but later investigations suggested it was closer to €86m. 

Bartomeu said this month that the controversy caused by the deal would not harm his aspirations for re-election, but the latest twist will do little for his campaign, particularly with former president Joan Laporta said to be ready to return.

Barcelona released the full details of the transfer in January.

The prosecution have requested custodial sentences be issued, recommending Rosell receive 7 years and 6 months Rosell and Bartomeu be handed two years and three months – adding the club should receive a fine of €11.4m