Liga president fears Messi could leave after fraud verdict

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 08, 2016 09:38 PM
Liga president fears Messi could leave after fraud verdict
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, FC Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. A Barcelona court on Friday July 6, 2016 sentenced Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi to suspended sentences of 21 months in prison each for tax fraud. The court found them guilty of three counts of tax fraud each. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The president of the Spanish football league says he is worried that Lionel Messi could leave to play in another country after being found guilty of tax fraud.

Javier Tebas has also defended Messi's innocence two days after a court ruled the Barcelona forward and his father defrauded the Spanish tax office of 4.1 million euros ($4.6 million).

Tebas says, "Of course I fear that (Messi) could leave, but the only thing I can tell him is that from LaLiga we believe he isn't guilty."

On Wednesday, a court sentenced Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, to 21 months in prison.

In Spain, sentences of less than two years for first offences are usually suspended, meaning neither man will likely go to jail.

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