Paris St-Germain’s push to conclude the signing of Neymar hit an obstacle on Thursday when La Liga refused an attempt to hand over the money to buy out the forward’s contract at Barcelona.
The lawyers Juan de Dios Crespo and Marcos Motta went to the league’s headquarters to deposit €222m (£198m) and clear the way for Neymar to join the French club.
However La Liga, as its president, Javier Tebas, had threatened, declined to accept the payment. “We can confirm that the player’s lawyers came to the La Liga offices this morning to deposit the clause and that it has been rejected,” a statement from the league said. “That’s all the information we are giving out at this moment.”
Tebas has argued that the deal would infringe financial fair play and wants to protect Spain’s leading clubs. The transfer is worth around £450m in wages and fees.
La Liga is understood to have also explained that it is unclear on the origins of the money and that under its regulations only Spanish clubs have the guaranteed right to buy out a contract. The league has repeatedly accepted buyout clause deposits from foreign clubs. It would not be able to reject the money if Neymar himself turned up to pay it.
The league’s stance is delaying the transfer but will not halt it. Neymar has told Barcelona he wants to leave and went to Porto on Wednesday for a medical in anticipation of joining PSG, who are aware of the implications of FFP on this transfer and have been working on ways of complying with that.