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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu faces trial over Neymar deal

Josep Maria Bartomeu had his appeal rejected by a court on Thursday.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu will stand trial for his involvement in the signing of Neymar after his appeal was rejected by a court on Thursday.

Bartomeu, vice-president to Sandro Rosell at the time of the 2013 deal, faces fraud and corruption charges after a complaint was lodged by Brazilian investment company DIS.

In February, it was announced that Neymar had lost his final appeal and would stand trial on corruption charges related to the transfer.

Rosell, Barcelona, Brazilian club Santos and the company run by Neymar's parents also lost appeals and will stand trial.

On Thursday, Spain's National Court ruled that Bartomeu was involved in the transfer to the same level as Rosell.

DIS have called for a five-year prison sentence for the Barca chief.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, are seeking a two-year sentence and a fine of nearly €10 million for both Neymar and his father on corruption charges.

If found guilty, they are not likely to spend any time in prison because they would be first-time offenders.

Barcelona face a fine of up to €9m, while Santos could be fined €7m.

Meanwhile, Argentine Football Association (AFA) chief Claudio Tapia has urged Lionel Messi to appear before the FIFA authorities in Switzerland next week in a bid to reduce his four-game international ban.

Messi was given the suspension last month after a confrontation with the assistant referee in the win over Chile.

He has already served one game of the ban and the AFA hopes it can be reduced so he is available for crucial forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

"We will talk with him on Friday to make the right decision," Tapia said.

"It is important that he is in Switzerland before the FIFA authorities to see if we can get a reduction of the four games."

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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