Messi defends his right to leave Barcelona for free
The Barça player’s lawyers have issued a statement containing a letter to LaLiga from the player’s father saying that the €700 million buy-out clause does not apply.
Leo Messi’s lawyers have released a statement, which is in it's totality a letter from the player’s father to LaLiga, stating that the player has the right to leave Barcelona without paying a buy-out clause.
The club consider that the €700 million buy-out clause is still in effect, a position that LaLiga backed up with a statement.
Messi's father argues there is no applicable buy-out clause
In the letter, Messi’s father accuses LaLiga of being clearly biased, given that it is supporting the interests of it’s members (the clubs).
He goes on to say that he does not know which contract LaLiga analysed or how they reached their decision that there was a buy-out clause that would apply where the player decided to unilaterally terminate the contract at the end of the 19/20 season.
He goes on to say that LaLIga has made a clear error, and cites clause 184.108.40.206 of the contract between Messi and Barcelona, which says that the clause will not apply if the player (Messi) decides to terminate the contact before the end of the 2019-20 season.
Jorge Messi finishes by saying it is obvious that the €700 million clause does not apply.
Messi appeared to be changing his mind over Barcelona exit
After the initial bombshell burofax (note, not an actual fax, but a registered, certified letter proving delivery and contents) from Messi to club stating his intention to unilaterally break his contract and leave for free, the indications from the Catalan capital were that the player was beginning to reconsider his position, given that the club had decided to play tough and were arguing the player could only leave if his €700 million buy-out clause was paid.
Reports in Argentina on Thursday suggested the player was reconsidering, seeing the potential problems a disputed exit from his only professional club could lead to. While FIFA would issue Messi a provisional registration to play outside Spain, meaning he could play for any of his major suitors (Manchester City are leading the race to land him), he could face years of legal wrangling over whether he was due the buy-out clause to the club if he unilaterally walks away, and any club signing him would likely not be willing to be on the hook for a potentially huge liability down the road.
Today's letter, however, does indicate that the Messi camp believe they have legal arguments (how solid is yet to be seen) that the buy-out clause does not apply and the player can leave for free. This may be a tactical manoeuvre on the part of the Messi team, attempting to lead Barcelona into thinking there is a possibility the player will leave for free and making it more likely the club will accept a negotiated departure, with a fee of somewhere far less than €700 million, but still worthwhile business for a player who has decided he no longer wants to play at the Camp Nou.