Barcelona spokesman Toni Freixa complained earlier this week that recent reports in the Spanish media were part of ‘an effort to undermine the reputation of our athletes and our institution”.
Well on Wednesday a judge in Spain disagreed with Freixa’s comments and potentially opened up a nightmare situation for Barcelona that could cost the club over €70 million.
The problem is Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona from Santos this summer. The deal was a very cloak and dagger affair from the start, falling under the cover of the confidentiality clause the Culé management signed with the other parties involved.
When the transfer was announced, Barcelona reported the transfer fee to be €57.1 million. Of that amount, €17.1 million went to Santos and the other €40 million was paid to the Neymar & Neymar company, jointly owned by the player and his father.
The €40 million to Neymar was viewed as a commission and thus not subject to taxes in Spain. A judge seems to disagree and has given the club five days to produce the relevant documentation to prove that the payment was a legitimate commission.
If the club cannot, or if they fail to convince the judge of the legality of the payment, then they will have to pay the relevant 52 per cent tax on the amount.
But that is not all. There were some add-ons included in the transaction that Barcelona say should not be included in the total value of the deal.
Barcelona paid another €7.9 million goes to Santos for preferential rights on three young up-and-coming players. They also committed to playing a friendly against Santos in Brazil this summer, and of the match does not take place, they will have to compensate Santos a further €4.5 million. Finally they will also have to pay another €2 million if Neymar finishes in the Ballon d’Or top three.
The friendly and bonus for Neymar finishing in the Ballon d’Or top three are all standard add-ons in deals and are usually included in the transfer fee.
And that is the position of Brazilian investment company Sonda who part-owned Neymar, and are suing Barcelona in Brazilian court.
Sonda’s deal gave entitled them to 45 per cent of Neymar’s transfer fee, so on the reported €17.1 million deal, they got around €7.7 million.
Sonda’s stance is that if you add in the potential tax on Neymar’s commission, plus the various add-ons, the total deal comes to about €142 million, smashing the Gareth Bale deal by the way.
Which is why the Brazilian company are asking the courts for payment of around €31 million.