Alleged leaked audio exposes Messi, Pique, Rubiales and UEFA president plotting to divert funds

Audio files and texts reportedly containing a money transfer proposal from Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, which were transmitted via Luis Rubiales to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, have been circulated on the internet.

A series of allegedly leaked audio recordings and texts from the pandemic revealed negotiations between Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Luis Rubiales and UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, with the aim of funneling UEFA funds directly towards player salaries.

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What happened

The global lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected businesses around the world, including football. Teams with already unhealthy finances were on the ropes, those that were previously unstable were shaken even more, and clubs with relatively healthy books had to pay less money. The pandemic has been so devastating.

This led to clubs asking players to take significant pay cuts or at least defer their wages. Lionel Messi confirmed at the time that Barcelona players had agreed to reduce their salaries by 70%.

Former Barcelona teammates Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi

Former Barcelona teammates Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi

According to the goal, and under the condition of confidentiality, former Spanish Federation president Luis Rubiales relayed a meeting between himself, Lionel Messi and Pique to UEFA president Ceferin, where they discussed transferring UEFA funds to cover wage cuts.

According to the report, Ceferin has been suggested to use 5% of UEFA's broadcast revenue to cushion the impact on players whose regular earnings have been affected. The conversation between Rubiales, Messi and Pique was said to have taken place in April and May of 2020, via a video conference call that lasted for four hours.

Conveying the message to Ceferin, Rubiales said: “I am sending you this voice with a message from Leo Messi. It is my voice, but rather his message,” according to AS.

“I say it is important for us that Messi and the rest are with us. There is no need to spend money. We are just changing where the money goes.”

The discussions ultimately failed to produce anything concrete. However, questions remain surrounding the ethics of such advocacy.

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