Lionel Messi could have some problems travelling to the UK if Barcelona are pitched against a English side in the Champions League after Brexit.
Immigration lawyer Andrew Osbourne of firm, Lewis Silkin, has warned that players could face issues travelling once the UK leave the European Union.
Osbourne’s firm has revealed that they are training several clubs to deal with the situation, should it arise after Brexit goes through.
The lawyer explained during an in-depth interview with the Athletic, that some of the world’s most high profile stars could be affected by issues, with Messi a prime example of what could occur.
“There is a specific point around European games. If you are an EU citizen with a criminal conviction, you can travel to the UK, as long as you are not deemed to be a threat to national security,” Osbourne said.
“If you are not an EU citizen and have a conviction or prison sentence imposed — even if suspended — you are banned from coming to the UK.
“There are a number of very famous footballers with convictions and suspended sentences for tax evasion. They, thus far, have not had to worry as they have EU passports.
As the UK are set to leave the EU, big-name players could face issues travelling to Britain
“But post-Brexit, they potentially may not be able to enter the country (as they will be treated like non-EU nationals).
“Anyone with a prison sentence of any sort, the starting point is you are not allowed in.
“This could provide disruption to Champions League squads and also whether they (UEFA) will play finals in England if players potentially may not be able to come in.
“Clubs will need to take steps.”
However, Barca’s captain, Lionel Messi, has previously been convicted for tax fraud and was handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence by a Spanish court.Do you want to be the first to get these news,updates and vital info?