BARCELONA • Spain's LaLiga refused to accept a €222 million (S$358.46 million) cheque yesterday in a new twist to Neymar's "transfer of the century" from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Lawyers Juan de Dios Crespo and Marcos Motta representing the 25-year-old Brazilian footballer were turned away from the Madrid headquarters of LaLiga after their payment to meet Barcelona's buyout clause was refused by officials who have accused the French club of breaching transfer rules.
"We can confirm that the legal representatives of the player attended LaLiga to pay the clause and this has been rejected," a spokesman said.
It was not immediately clear whether LaLiga's refusal to accept payment would put the brakes on the transfer.
The French league (LFP) later asked LaLiga not to block the move.
The LFP issued a strongly worded statement urging the Spanish football league "to stick to Fifa's rules and its responsibilities".
According to experts, the league can only delay the transfer and would not be able to reject the money if Neymar himself turned up to pay it.
The player, who went to Porto on Wednesday for a medical examination in anticipation of joining the French giants, was initially expected to land in Paris yesterday, but is now due to arrive today, according to airport sources in the French capital.
PSG's president Nasser al-Khelaifi declined to comment when asked about the latest development during a visit to a children's holiday camp outside Paris where French President Emmanuel Macron was also in attendance.
"I'm here today on behalf of PSG's foundation," Qatari businessman al-Khelaifi said.
Spain's Marca newspaper reported that Neymar and his advisers would turn to Fifa, world football's governing body, requesting a provisional transfer to PSG.
The striker's agent, Wagner Ribeiro, had said on Wednesday that the French club was ready to foot the bill so that Neymar could be presented at PSG this weekend.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas had already warned in an interview that the Spanish league would not accept payment by PSG to trigger the release clause, saying it was potentially in breach of Uefa Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
Under the those rules, a club's wage bill must not exceed 70 per cent of its revenue.
Tebas believes the astronomical sums being spent by PSG make it impossible for them to comply with FFP regulations.
Clubs can be sanctioned by Uefa, European football's governing body, for making a loss of more than €30 million over a three-year period. PSG have already been fined and saw their Champions League squad limited by Uefa for breaches of FFP in 2014.
"We will not accept this money from a club like PSG," Tebas told Madrid sports daily AS on Wednesday. "Especially when this club is infringing rules and laws."
Spanish clubs have dominated the Champions League in recent seasons with Barcelona and Real Madrid winning the competition for the last four years. Tebas fears their place at the top of the pyramid could be threatened by "financial doping".
The role played by PSG's owner Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) has been looked upon sceptically in Spain, with the El Mundo newspaper describing the move as a "state signing".
"The clubs that compete with financial doping can destabilise professional football in Europe, the international market and competitions," said Tebas.
However, Uefa said on Wednesday that it had received no complaint about PSG in this respect, adding that it would not block any potential deal in advance.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS