El Clasico 2017: Barcelona urge TAD for decision on Neymar ban.
Could Neymar possibly face Real Madrid on Sunday, despite being in the midst of three-game ban?
Who knows? Well, that’s the easy answer with confusion clouding the issue just 24 hours before kick-off at the Bernabeu.
First off let’s have a look at the facts: the Brazilian was handed a three-game ban after being sent off in the defeat to Malaga and then walking off the pitch, sarcastically applauding the match officials.
Except, Barcelona appealed the decision which the Spanish Federation's Appeals Committee confirmed they had rejected on Thursday. Case closed, or so we thought.
Not wanting to take no for an answer, Barcelona then released a statement confirming they would take their appeal to the Spain’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAD) on Friday.
And this is where it gets interesting; the TAD wrote to Barcelona on Saturday criticising the club for lodging their appeal so late and confirming they had planned to meet today but, crucially, had been unable to do so.
However, the TAD also insist that Neymar’s suspension is “immediately enforceable” and therefore he is not eligible to play at the Bernabeu and the club will face punishment should he take to the field.
It doesn’t end there though; Barcelona have since hit back at TAD, releasing a lengthy statement on their website, in which they call for a definite answer.
“The club requests the TAD issue a resolution,” Barca said in a statement on Saturday.
“It is not true that FC Barcelona has asked for an opinion on whether the player is eligible or not.
"What the TAD was asked is that they assess the appeal and, subsequently, declare the player’s availability. The club is still waiting for an answer from the TAD."
Some reports are now claiming that Neymar will travel to Madrid with the rest of the Barcelona squad with the club still apparently waiting for a definitive ruling.
Whether that will come before kick-off remains to be seen and leaves Barcelona in something of a quandary – do they really risk playing Neymar on Sunday if no ruling arrives?
It still seems unlikely but one thing’s for sure – we haven’t heard the last of this yet…