British press reports indicated that Argentine Lionel Messi, the Barcelona star, is prohibited from playing on British soil, before drawing the 16th round of the Champions League.
The reason for preventing Messi was that he was convicted of tax evasion and previously sentenced to 21 months suspended prison sentence, and with Britain leaving the European Union the laws are getting more complicated.
Lawyer Andrew Osborne has warned players who have ruled in criminal cases against traveling to the UK, including Lionel Messi.
The lawyer explained the law, “If you are not a citizen of the European Union, have been subjected to punishment or have been convicted, you will not be allowed to enter the United Kingdom.”
He added: “There are a number of famous football players who have been subject to court rulings due to tax evasion, and so far there is no reason for them to worry because they hold passports from the European Union, but after Britain exit from the union they may not be able to enter the country.”
He continued: Anyone who has been imprisoned of any kind, will not be allowed to enter Britain, which will affect the Champions League.
Last year, Ernesto Valverde team faced an opponent from the English Premier League, Manchester United, and Al-Barsha narrowly qualified after Messi suffered a strong intervention by defender Chris Smalling.
However, Messi’s comrades left the tournament dramatically later when they lost 4-0 from Liverpool after they had won the Camp Nou 3-0.
Barcelona avoided facing Liverpool and Manchester City in the round of 16 of the Champions League in this version, as the three clubs topped their groups, while the lottery could sign the Catalan team against Tottenham or Chelsea.