MADRID: Atletico Madrid reported Barcelona to football’s governing body FIFA over illegal contact made to star forward Antoine Griezmann, Atletico club sources confirmed on Tuesday.
“The complaint has been presented for repeated contact between Barcelona, the player and his team,” an Atletico source told AFP.
Griezmann renewed his contract until 2022 in June and Atletico consider contact made by Barcelona not only breaks FIFA’s rules, but could also affect the integrity of La Liga.
Barcelona lead the league with Atletico their closest challengers six points behind in second. “He is a player under a long contract and this can’t happen. Moreover, the club considers that it could affect the competition where Barca are currently top and Atletico second,” added the Atletico source. Barca were slapped with a one-year transfer ban for the illegal recruitment of foreign minors by FIFA that was served in 2015. Should the Catalan giants be found guilty, they could be handed another ban on registering new players.
Barcelona-based sports daily Mundo Deportivo reported on Sunday that Barca’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu had recently met with Griezmann’s family. The Catalan giants are expected to be willing to pay the French international’s 100 million euro ($117.8 million) buyout clause at the end of the season to avoid negotiating with Atletico.
Barca’s director of institutional relations Guillermo Amor turned down the opportunity to deny a meeting had taken place later on Sunday after Barca’s 4-0 thrashing of Deportivo la Coruna.