Chelsea warned against signing Messi for free

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There have been shockwaves around the football world following the likely departure of Lionel Messi from Barcelona.

The 33-year-old has sent in a transfer request and is keen to leave the Blaugrana this summer, and he has a case to leave for free.

There is a dispute between Messi and Barcelona over his release clause. Barcelona has a clause which allows Messi to leave for free, but it expired on June 10. But Barca would rather hold on to Messi’s release clause of £630m.

Meanwhile, Messi’s camp is arguing that the clause remains active as the coronavirus pandemic halted Barcelona’s season and the club’s campaign did not end until their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on August 14.

Nick De Marco QC, who has represented sport’s governing bodies, players, clubs and agents since 2002, has warned that there could be a court case to settle, if Messi decides to leave for free.

“If it ended up anywhere, it would be most likely in the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber because Messi, being Argentinian, the FIFA rules would apply, and FIFA has its own set of laws and rules,” De Marco, of Blackstone Chambers, told The Transfer Show on Sky Sports News.

“So, it’s unlikely to be Spanish law or English law or Swiss law but it would be the FIFA rules that apply, and they have a commission that can determine these things.

“Ultimately, either party can then appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That’s how these sorts of issues are normally dealt with.

“One possibility, and it’s certainly not one I’m advising anybody, is a player simply just walks out and says, ‘I’m entitled to walk out, so I’m walking out’.

“The risk with that strategy is, although FIFA will normally allow the registration to move with the player, if the club then brings a claim and succeeds, not only is the player liable to [pay] damages but also is likely to be banned under FIFA rules for a period of months and the new club signing him have a transfer embargo.

“It’s such a high-risk strategy that, unless you were sure that the player was in the right, it’s not a risk one would take.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.