The trial into alleged tax fraud on the part of Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge, will begin on May 31.
In a statement from the Catalan Superior Court of Justice (h/t AFP via AS) the start date was confirmed, with the case set to be finished by June 3.
The 2015-16 Champions League final will be played on May 28 at the San Siro in Milan, Italy should Barcelona make it that far. However, the trial could have a detrimental effect on Messi’s preparations for the Copa America with his national side, which begins in the United States on June 3.
As reported in the piece from AS, the pair have been accused of not declaring taxes in respect of the Barcelona man’s image rights, which amount to a reported €4.16 million (£3.2 million).
It’s also noted the state prosecutors are requesting that Messi and his father serve a jail term of 22-and-a-half months.
The footballer was initially expected to avoid appearing in court after claiming his father was responsible for his tax activities, per FourFourTwo. However, as noted in the aforementioned piece, the state attorney determined that Messi should also be tried alongside his father.
Messi was recently crowned as the winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for a record fifth time after a stellar year on the field for Barcelona.
The No. 10 was central to the Blaugrana securing an historic treble triumph in the 2014-15 season; he also scored in the finals of the European Super Cup and Club World Cup during this year. Messi’s Barcelona currently trail La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid by two points with a game in hand and are set to play Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League.