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28.07.2008 19:25

Laporta says Messi will go on the tour

Roger Bogunyà

Joan Laporta has announced that Leo Messi will travel with the rest of the first team to the US. He pointed out that Barça’s position was backed by the rules.

He said that if FIFA, which has put the case to the single judge in the players’ statute (an internal body) comes out in the next few days against Barça, the club will file an appeal with the Sports Arbitration Tribunal (SAT) which is an independent arbitration body.

In this case it would then be the SAT which decides if Leo Messi plays in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League for FC Barcelona or at the Olympics with Argentina. Laporta said that “the rules do not oblige us to give up the player” and he confirmed that Messi would go on the club tour starting this Wednesday.

Search for consensus

rplaporta2907_x5x.JPGEven though the rules are on Barça’s side, Joan Laporta said the club was looking for a consensus solution with FIFA and the AFA. This would involve Messi playing the first leg of the Champions League qualifier with FC Barcelona and if the result of the game was “clearly favourable” for Barça he would then be given up to Argentina to play in the Olympics from the quarter finals on.

What the player wants

The chairman commented that “the player wants to play for both FC Barcelona and Argentina.” He praised Messi’s “great maturity” in this case. “FC Barcelona is ready to help him do both,” added Laporta, after pointing out that Messi has not completed any preseason in the last three years.
Laporta says Messi will go on the tour
Eto'o’s situation
When asked about Eto'o, Joan Laporta said that “what is true is that Eto'o has a valid contract with FC Barcelona and has a very good attitude in preseason”. Nonetheless, the chairman said that sports decisions needed to be discussed with Txiki Begiristain, and added that “this case calls for in-depth study. The physical, mental and sports recovery of the player will have a major impact on how things turn out”.

The chairman also said that the player “has offers” from other teams as he is a valuable player and one of the best in his position. The decision as to Eto'o “is not irreversible, but it will always be a coaching and sports decision,” he added.

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