Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is set to avoid prison despite the almost two years jail term he received for tax fraud in Spain.
Many feared that the very talented player and five-time World Footballer of the Year Award winner might take a break from the special game but this wouldn’t be happening as he would only be on probation throughout the time of the sentences.
The player and his father were standing trial for tax fraud committed between 2007 and 2009. The Court ruled that the player should serve a sentence of seven months for each year. However, as this was the first time he was standing before the Court and the sentence was less than two years, the player wouldn’t take a break from football.
The 29-year old superstar wasn’t happy with the sentencing and his lawyers say they would appeal the verdict and are pretty sure that the sentencing would be different. Messi’s father received the same sentencing.
Aside the jail term, both parties would pay a fine to the authorities. Messi is ordered to pay $2.3 million but his father would pay $1.7 million. Since his father doesn’t have a criminal record, he wouldn’t serve the time in prison as well. The club issued a statement on their website immediately the court issued its verdict. The statement reads that the club is giving its support to the player and his father as they defend their interests.
A few people criticised the ruling as the player had already paid the amount liable with interest far back in 2013 but others say the ruling would serve as a deterrent to others. Messi was ranked the second highest paid footballer by Forbes Magazine with an estimated $81.4 million earnings in the last year from his weekly wages and endorsement deals. There are reports linking the player with a possible move away from the club but Barcelona are also preparing a deal which will keep at the Nou Camp for much longer.