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On Neymar, Rosell, the tax authorities and Tebas

Logotipo de AS AS 04/06/2014 Alfredo Relaño

Neymar is in Teresópolis preparing for a World Cup viewed there as a duel between him and Messi, club colleagues but international rivals. News of the latest development surrounding his move to Barça will have reached him: Spain’s tax office has found that the club committed tax fraud. Rosell has been summoned to testify on Friday 13th, exactly the day Spain open up against Holland. So, this month Neymar will play in two symbolic territories, spheres or spaces: that of pure football, on grass and between the white lines, and that of tough judicial proceedings over a case that bears his name.

In this column, we’ve already spoken a fair amount about Barça’s excesses in the Neymar case. In their attempts to stop Real Madrid from getting him, and hide what he was getting so Messi wouldn’t be jealous, they constructed a cathedral of financial engineering built on toothpick foundations, and it has collapsed. “He cost 57 million, full stop,” Rosell said emphatically. He resigned within a month, and it was clear to us all that after that ‘full stop’ there was more to come. And more. And more. And more… Santiago Giménez is keeping the tally of what this signing is finally going to cost Barça. 57 million seems awfully far off now!

Meanwhile, the case also confirms what I’ve sometimes said in this column: the LFP’s ‘strict’ financial controls exist for some and not for others. Speaking in Lima on Tuesday, Tebas insisted Barça’s affairs are in order because they have already paid the money to meet the fine. That’s absurd. If there is a fine, it’s because they did something wrong last summer and the LFP swallowed it. What’s more: when the cat came out of the bag, the LFP pretended to carry out a kind of ‘a posteriori’ audit just for show, and the conclusion was: indifference. At the LFP, it’s one set of rules for two, another for the rest.

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