Lionel Messi's tax fraud trial to be held at Barcelona days before Copa America opener
Jan 26, 2016 08:09 PM EST
Lionel Messi's tax fraud trial will be held at Barcelona from May 31 to June 3, which means he will be 6,000 miles away a few days before the Copa America opener in the United States. Messi and his father have been charged of defrauding Spain's tax office for an amount of 4.2 million euros or 3.24 million pound worth of tax from 2007 to 2009.
According to Reuters, the world famous football player, who recently won his fifth Ballon d'Or award, can face up to 22 months in prison, along with father Jorge, if found guilty. They were ordered by a Spanish court to stand trial last October. The footballer and his father have paid €5 million to authorities as part of a corrective measure after they were charged with fraud in June 2013.
As the captain of Argentina, he will lead his country in the Copa America opener, which will be held in Santa Clara, California. ESPN reported that the Copa America is scheduled to kick off June 3, which means Messi might not be able to play for Argentina's opening game. The official schedule for the Copa America games would be released on February 21. Messi's lawyers are pushing to change the dates of the court trials.
If Messi's team will reach the Champions League Final on May 28 at Milan, he will have an even shorter time to prepare for the Copa America.
Mirror UK wrote that the latest trial means Messi have to go on a 5,994-mile flight from Barcelona to Bay Area to play in Argentina's opener. The 2016 Copa America is a special edition that commemorates the 100 years celebration of the South American championship. The Albiceleste are this year's favorites.
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) will partner up with the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) for the upcoming 16-team tournament that will be held in 10 different cities in the US.