Barcelona president Sandro Rosell says he would love to publicly reveal the exact details of Neymar’s transfer from Santos, but maintains that a confidentiality agreement stops him doing so.
A continuing court investigation in Madrid is looking into last summer’s complex deal, in which Barca say they paid 57 million euros but El Mundo claims a total of 95 million euros changed hands.
A news conference on Monday evening, which was organised to announce Barca’s plans to extend the Camp Nou, was dominated by the Neymar controversy -- with Rosell again insisting that only 57 million euros had been paid and that he was willing to testify to that in court.
The Blaugrana chief said he could give no further details due to a commitment he had made at the time.
“When the club signs a contract we respect it,” Rosell said. “If we sign a confidentiality clause, it is because the other party has asked for it. And we respect it at all moments and only on the order of a judge can we break it.”
That confidentiality commitment is assumed to have been given to Neymar’s father, who was widely reportedly to have received 40 million of that total 57 million fee -- with El Mundo now saying he was also paid further commissions of over 11 million euros.
Reporters present on Monday continued to ask further questions on the subject, but Rosell and his fellow directors persistently replied “next question please”, despite having talked up their commitment to “transparency” when announcing the stadium plans.
Barca socio Jordi Cases, who has opened the Pandora’s Box by first asking the club for full disclosure about the transfer, then going to the courts when he was ignored, has told El Pais that he would have been satisfied if the Blaugrana board had been honest with him from the start.
“I was convinced that, even if they could not explain it all, the club would tell me something,” Cases said. “I just wanted to know why they had paid 40 million euros to the company of the player’s father. If they said to me, ‘If we did not do that, then Neymar would not have come to Barca,’ that would have been enough. I thought they would continue lying, but I just wanted a response.”
The long-time Barca fan, who maintains he is not linked to the camp of former Barca president and continuing Rosell enemy Joan Laporta, said he was not trying to damage the club -- or accuse anyone of anything illegal.
“The complaint is against Rosell, not Barca,” Cases said. “In any case, we do not think that anyone [from club] has taken money, just to know how they justify the costs, because it is not clear.”
The case is being closely followed in Brazil, where all the former stakeholders in Neymar’s playing rights (including Santos and third-party investors DIS) are beginning to question whether they might perhaps be owed more money than they have yet received.
ESPN Brasil reports that DIS -- who expected a 40 percent share of the fee paid by Barca -- feels the full price may have been 140 million euros and are prepared to take a legal action against Neymar Sr and Andre Cury, the Barca board’s representative in Brazil.
Santos president Odilio Rodrigues told UOL Esporte that his club would also want their fair share of the transfer if it turned out the total fee was more than 57 million euros.
“If Barcelona paid more, we have the right to demand this money,” Rodrigues said. “Santos had 55 percent of [Neymar’s] playing rights. We did everything in a transparent way. I do not know if these reports are true. The Barca vice-president [Josep María Bartomeu] said they paid 57 million euros, so he should be the one to say if the reports are true or not.”