La Liga have released a statement confirming that Lionel Messi's contract with Barcelona remains active, as does the €700m release clause that a club will have to pay in order to extricate him from his deal.
Messi still has one year remaining on his current Barcelona contract, but earlier this week issued his intention to leave the club this summer by way of direct communication via burofax.
Barcelona still very much want to retain the services of the Argentine, but the player refused to report to coronavirus testing on Sunday, further clouding the issue of his future.
Barca remain confident that a clause included in Messi's contract last season which would allow him to leave for free has already expired, though Messi's representatives believe that the coronavirus disruption meant that the clause should be extended.
However, on Sunday La Liga made a statement confirming that Messi's release clause is active, saying:
"In relation to the different Interpretations (some of them contradictory to each other) published in recent days in different media, related to the contractual situation of the player Lionel Andres Messi with FC Barcelona, La Liga considers it convenient to clarify the player's contract with his club:
- The contract is currently in force and has a "termination clause" applicable to the event that Lionel Andres Messi decides to urge the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, by which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.
- In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount of said clause.
In other words La Liga are confirming that they will not sanction the release of Messi from his contract until the release clause is met.
The saga is likely to continue for some days, with Messi expected to report to training tomorrow, Ronald Koeman's first session as coach, but Spanish media have suggested that he has no intention in attending.