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Football: Spanish judge hears case over Neymar deal

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A Spanish judge Wednesday agreed to hear a case lodged against Barcelona president Sandro Rosell over the signing of Brazilian striker Neymar.

Judge Pablo Ruz of the National Court in Madrid issued a ruling accepting the case but adding that there was no "urgency or necessity" to hear Rosell's testimony at this stage.

Barcelona have maintained since the signing was made last May that the whole operation cost the club 57.1 million euros ($77 million), but that they couldn't divulge how much each of the parties involved in the deal had received on confidentiality grounds.

That led to a member of the fan-owned club, Jordi Cases, lodging a complaint last month against Rosell alleging misappropriation because members did not know the "real destination" of 40 million euros supposedly paid to Neymar family business N&N.

Ruz subsequently demanded Barca hand over the contracts involved in the deal, as well as the club's financial accounts for the past three years.

And he said the contents of the complaint and documents received from Barcelona provided "sufficient elements" for the case to proceed.

He ordered a commission of inquiry to travel to Brazil to obtain a copy of the 21-year-old Neymar's contract with former club Santos and for the contracts lodged with football's governing body FIFA to be released.

The judge also instructed Neymar to submit a contract he had signed with N&N ceding future financial rights.

Reports in Spain have estimated that the total cost of the transfer could be well in excess of the figure claimed by the club.

Ruz also ordered the club to hand over the documentation on a 7.9 million euro deal agreed for the Catalans to have first-option to buy three Santos youth team players and an agreement for the two clubs to play two friendlies for which Barca would pay the Brazilians nine million euros.

At a press conference on Monday, Rosell reiterated that the total cost of the transfer was 57.1 million euros and said he would welcome the opportunity to be called to give evidence to clarify matters.

However, the judge said there was no "urgency or necessity" to hear Rosell's testimony until the preliminary inquiry was more advanced.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140122/football-spanish-judge-hears-case-over-neymar-deal-2