Barcelona Fans Are Looking To Take Legal Action Over Lionel Messi’s Move To Paris - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Barcelona Fans Are Looking To Take Legal Action Over Lionel Messi’s Move To Paris

As Lionel Messi prepares to transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, lawyers argue that the move would break European laws on state aid.

Throughout his illustrious career, Lionel Messi has come to be an iconic figure in the world of football, a man whose impressive skills and flourishes of foot touches ensorcel even those who profane football itself. Known simply by his last name, Messi has continued to defy all expectation and to watch him step out on the field is to acknowledge that you are witnessing a rare calibre of athlete. But as Barcelona fans now prepare for the reality of his impending transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, it’s fair to say that none are happy about the move, with some even threatening to take legal action. 

Though the prospect of athlete transfers is nothing new, it seems the crushing blow of losing Messi to another team is too much to bear for some as it’s been reported that a small group of Barcelona fans are quietly beginning a legal process. If successful, it could just lead to a significant change in European football, a game which sees transfers occur with great frequency. 

In the summer of 2021, Messi joined PSG with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner leaving on a free transfer, with an agreed contract that is reported to be work 94 million pounds (approximately 168 million AUD) over three years. For Barcelona supporters, this transfer should never have occurred as it distorted the competitive environment in continental football. 

Lawyers have since been called, arguing to a senior judge at the European court of justice that Messi’s move from Catalonia to Paris broke European laws on state aid. They’re now calling for the European Commission to investigate the transfer. According to reports, the session in Luxembourg lasted three hours in front of Judge Marc Jaeger, a former president of the court. A verdict is now expected to be reached within two months. 

More interesting in the case isn’t just that the Barcelona supporters are calling for the European Commission to investigate the deal, but rather are also looking to bring the world of football finance away from the closed doors of the game’s governing bodies and into the light that is Europe’s lawmakers for the first time in history. 

If successful, the claim lodged by the fan group would see the original decision by the court being overturned and the commission instructed to “order the French Football Federation to immediately cease any…distortion of competition and to bring itself into compliance with Uefa club licensing and financial fair play regulations.” It’s also calling on the commission to instigate proceedings against the French government, for “illegal state aid to PSG and the French football clubs in national and European competitions.”

PSG have insisted that the signing of Messi didn’t breach FFP regulations, a source from the organisation said: “There is nothing to comment on – PSG isn’t even a party to the case.” Even so, it presents an interesting moment in international sport and while many seem to think the claim by fans seems unlikely to be successful, it could certainly have wider consequences for clubs and transfers in the future. 

By Mens Health Staff

More From

Timana Tahu Over the Black Dot
Dual rugby international Timana Tahu on ‘Over the Black Dot’, the 2024 NRL season, and the importance of spotlighting Indigenous athletes

Dual rugby international Timana Tahu on ‘Over the Black Dot’, the 2024 NRL season, and the importance of spotlighting Indigenous athletes

One of the few men to represent Australia internationally in both rugby league and rugby union, Timana Tahu knows a thing or two about footy. On the eve of the NRL’s opening round and the premiere of Over the Black Dot’s latest season, Tahu caught up with Men’s Health to discuss the year ahead in rugby league—and why Indigenous athletes should be at the forefront.