After missing the planned coronavirus tests done on Sunday ahead of Barcelona’s return to pre-season training, Lionel Messi is set to incur serious penalties as a result of not attending the first training session led by Ronald Koeman on Monday afternoon.
Messi remains firm on his position that he won’t train at a club he is no longer an employee of, although the legal intricacies of such a stance are yet to be fully explored.
Barcelona, on the other hand, believe he is still their captain and in accordance with the collective agreement of LaLiga Santander and the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE), he will have committed a serious offence.
The document, in relation to disciplinary matters, establishes that a serious offence can be judged when a player ‘abandons work’ for two occasions without just cause.
The first would have come on Sunday when he wasn’t tested and Monday will see what the club perceive to be a second infraction.
A third absence would then see the offence considered ‘very serious’ which can carry a punishment of total suspension with significant pay decreases.
There can be up to 11 days of his salary being withdrawn or a fine of up to 25 percent of his monthly salary, whichever comes first.
At present the Catalan club hasn’t yet considered sanctioning their greatest ever player, but Josep Maria Bartomeu and his acolytes are cautious about how the situation could snowball if they were to do anything else to denigrate Messi’s reputation.
The club know they must take disciplinary measures, but they won’t rush to do so with there still hope they can get this situation moving in a more amicable situation.
Messi, on his part, doesn’t believe a club that doesn’t employ him can fine him, with his burofax sent last Tuesday making him a free agent, in his mind at least.
A meeting is planned between Bartomeu and Jorge Messi, father and agent of the forward, before the end of the current week, although it doesn’t look like this will give any clear solution as both sides are so deeply entrenched in their current positions.