Neymar poised to stand trial as legal mess over transfer continues

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Neymar's legal troubles look to be going from “iffy” to “bad.”

The Brazilian striker has been in and out of court over alleged irregularities in his transfer to Barcelona, but now the stage is being set for him to face trial.

Prosecutors are alleging that Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, were aware of fraudulent dealings surrounding his transfer from Santos to Barcelona. A Brazilian investment group called DIS, which owned 40 percent of Neymar's sporting rights, has claimed that they were not given their full share of the €57.1 million transfer fee because portions of it were hidden.

On Monday, a Spanish judge accepted the charges of corruption against Neymar and his father, and prosecutors have 10 days to formally request a trial, which is expected. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell are also set to stand trial over the issue.

DIS initially paid €1.4 million for Neymar's rights and earned a return of €6.8 million on Neymar's transfer. But prosecutors say Barcelona paid more than they let on for Neymar, and DIS is owned an additional €3.2 million.

It's a messy situation, to be sure, and third-party ownership in soccer, which is at the heart of this dispute, was banned by FIFA last year. Some have gone so far to call the practice as modern-day indentured slavery while others argue it enables poor clubs to buy and sell players. Sam Allardyce infamously lost his job as England manager after 67 days when he was caught telling journalists posed as investors that the ban on third-party ownership could be bypassed.

Neither Barcelona nor Neymar have commented on the latest development in the case, but in September Barcelona issued a statement expressing “disagreement with the reasoning for the decision of the National Court to continue the process against” Neymar and Barcelona.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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