Spanish top-flight officials are investigating the possibility that the Barcelona team violated Catalonia’s coronavirus rules, which say that only groups of up to six people can meet in an indoor or outdoor at any one time.

Leo Messi hosted a squad meeting at his residencr

Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates are under investigation by LaLiga for a lunch meeting at the club captain’s home earlier this week. Spanish top-flight officials are investigating the possibility that the Barcelona team violated Catalonia’s coronavirus rules, which say that only groups of up to six people can meet in an indoor or outdoor at any one time. The Argentine hosted a squad meeting at his residence on Monday to begin preparations for this weekend’s crunch match against Atletico Madrid. Still, the players could now face sanctions if found guilty of defying social distancing protocols. Many of the players who attended Messi’s meeting with their partners sat on separate tables in the garden area.

Barca could be in trouble

LaLiga are now gathering more information about the meeting to establish whether the squad bubble was broken amid ongoing efforts by the authorities to avoid another Covid-19 outbreak. At the moment, there is no precedent for clubs or players to be punished for violating the coronavirus regulations in LaLiga, and Barca have yet to comment on the investigation officially. However, four Sevilla players came under the spotlight last May after attending a barbecue ahead of the resumption of the 2019-20 campaign, with LaLiga president Javier Tebas subsequently promising that “measures would be taken” against them. The issue was eventually resolved after the players in question made a public apology. Still, Barca could also be in trouble with the Catalan government if Messi & Co were in breach of the current Covid-19 laws.

 

Meritxell Budo, an adviser to the Generalitat de Catalunya presidency, has said on the matter: “We know and have seen the images. The public health agency that has the mandate has seen them and will conduct a technical assessment in the coming days and inform us how to proceed.” Barcelona are due to welcome Atletico Madrid to Camp Nou on Saturday, with only two points separating the two sides at the moment. Ronald Koeman’s men can leapfrog Los Rojiblancos into first place with a win, but a draw or defeat would seriously hurt their hopes of winning the Liga crown, with only three games left to play after that.