Regular-article-logo Thursday, 08 June 2023

Barcelona lay pitch to net Neymar

Catalans eye little-known fifa rule to get star

TT Bureau Calcutta Published 23.03.20, 09:51 PM

Neymar File picture

Barcelona are keen to have Neymar back in their stable and a little-known Fifa rule may help them get the Brazilian over the transfer line.

Of course, the Spanish giants will try to negotiate with Neymar’s current club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), but in case that fails, they can exploit Article 17 that was created in 2001, when the European Commission threatened to outlaw the transfer system within the European Union because it undermined players’ freedom of movement compared to other workers.


Barcelona had tried desperately to sign him last summer, but couldn’t come to an agreement with PSG. Since then, both Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique have expressed their desire for Neymar to return. And in the coming summer, Barcelona are ready to pitch for him again.

According to ESPN, Barcelona view Neymar as “an incredible footballer and the natural heir to Lionel Messi”, and they are ready to do “everything possible to bring him back”.

The article in question states players can leave their contracts “without just cause” once the three-year protection period ends. And that is what Barcelona are considering to exploit if they can’t agree to a deal with PSG.

For Barcelona’s plan to be successful, the first move has to come from the Brazilian. Neymar, who has been with PSG since 2017, would need to terminate his contract. There would be nothing PSG could do to stop it.

If Neymar does that, Barcelona and PSG would then have to sit down in an attempt to reach an agreement.

If they don’t succeed, Fifa would then try and settle the fee. If one or both the clubs disagree with the outcome, they would then reserve the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

While not too many clubs have used this rule since it’s introduction, if Neymar is involved it is bound to grab headlines.

But it is likely to have serious repercussions. If Barcelona did use Article 17, it would no doubt ruin their friendship with PSG.

The French club would, rightfully, be livid and would likely never want to deal with Barcelona again. The Spanish giants’ reputation would also take a hit.

Moreover, if Barcelona were to sign Neymar and then refuse to come up with the figure agreed, they would risk severe punishment.

According to ESPN, they could be given a two-window transfer ban or given a massive fine.

Barcelona will no doubt use Andy Webster’s case as a precedent. Webster, who won 28 caps for Scotland, retired from football in 2017. He famously walked out of his contract with Heart of Midlothian in 2006 to join Wigan Athletic, then of the English Premier League. He still had one year to run on a four-year deal when he invoked Article 17 in order to get his move.

The article have not been used in over a decade. In terms of ambition, the transfer would rank on par with Neymar’s 222-million euro move to Paris in 2017, Luis Figo’s switch from Barca to Real Madrid in 2000 and Madrid’s signing of Alfredo Di Stefano under Barca’s noses in the 1950s.

Messi has hinted several times that he wants Neymar back at the club, while defender Pique even revealed the players were willing to adjust their wages last summer if it helped the club — who had already committed to big-money deals for Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong — to structure a deal for the Brazilian, who scored 105 goals in 186 games in four years with Barcelona.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu, whose tenure at Camp Nou runs until 2021, also wants to make a big crowd-pleasing signing before he steps to the side.

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