MESSI

Messi: Barça issue statement in support of player and father

The Spanish champions have given their backing to the pair after they were handed 21-month prison sentences for tax evasion on Wednesday.

Messi: Barça issue statement in support of player and father
ALBERTO ESTEVEZ AFP

Barcelona have offered their backing to Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge, who were handed 21-month prison sentences on Wednesday after being convicted of tax fraud.

Unlikely to serve sentences

A Barcelona court found the pair guilty of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of 4.1 million euros on income earned through image rights between 2007 and 2009.

However, they are not expected to spend any time behind bars as the jail terms they have received are under two years and neither has a criminal record.

"In no way criminally responsible"

In a statement issued in the wake of the ruling, Barça said: "FC Barcelona gives all its support to Leo Messi and his father with relation to the sentence for tax evasion handed out by the Provincial Court in Barcelona today.

"The Club, in agreement with the Government prosecution service, considers that the player, who has corrected his position with the Spanish Tax Office, is in no way criminally responsible with regards to the facts underlined in this case.

"FC Barcelona continues to be at the disposal of Leo Messi and his family to support him in whatever action he decides to take in defence of his honesty and his legal interests."