The dumbest transfer saga of the summer just got even dumber. After Barcelona activated Antoine Griezmann’s €120 million release clause, the striker’s old club, Atlético Madrid, filed a complaint with the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), claiming that the Catalan giants had negotiated with Griezmann before his release clause dropped from €200 million on July 1. Atléti were seeking to have Barcelona pay the difference, and they claimed to have emails proving that Griezmann had been in touch with his new club before July.
Well, Spain being Spain, this has come to the funniest possible near-conclusion: the RFEF fined Barcelona for “irregularities” in the transfer, to the tune of a whopping €300. That’s not a typo, they really fined one of the richest clubs the price of a new video game console.
There’s just one problem: Barcelona, for some reason, are reportedly appealing the damn fine, according to ESPN’s Alex Shaw.
Barcelona could have received a stadium ban or further financial penalties for any infractions, but instead they will be out the same amount that Lionel Messi makes in about four minutes if they lose the appeal. At least the RFEF acknowledged that this is a purely symbolic fine.
However, it also opened them up to this appeal by Barcelona, who claim that there was no wrongdoing in their pursuit of the Frenchman. Since their legal fees for the appeal will likely be magnitudes higher than €300, this all feels like petty brand management. Fair play to them, as the initial complaint by Atlético was petty in its own right. Given how this particular transfer saga has devolved since it was first reported in the summer of 2018 that Griezmann was on his way to Barcelona, this feels like a fitting home stretch.