Report: Why Messi could be banned from UK even if Spurs drew Barca in Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham Hotspur found out exactly who they will be playing in the Champions League round of sixteen today after the highly-anticipated draw took place.

Spurs were destined to have one of five from Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, Valencia, and Red Bull Leipzig, with the draw dictating they would play the latter.

Leipzig are currently top of the Bundesliga and have impressed in the Champions League so far, making the knockout stages for the first time ever.

Although Spurs missed Barcelona, they could still get them in later rounds if both teams progress, but one report claims Lionel Messi may miss a UK fixture.

The Argentine was convicted of tax fraud and handed a 21-month suspended sentence, but can currently travel due to his EU citizenship and Spanish/Argentine passport.

However, immigration lawyer Andre Osborne from the firm Lewis Silkin, has now warned that some players, Messi included, could struggle to travel to the UK after Brexit.

He said (The Athletic): “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.

“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.

“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 [Uefa] will play finals in England if players potentially may not be able to come in.

“Clubs will need to take steps.”

Have something to tell us about this article?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.