Gavi could leave Barca on free transfer after court ruling
One of Barcelona's brightest young stars could exit Camp Nou in the summer for absolutely nothing.
A Spanish court ruled on Tuesday in favour of La Liga against Barca over the registration of the 18-year-old midfielder's contract. The ruling reverts Gavi's status to academy player, which means that the Spain international's release clause is back in effect and he can leave the club in the summer on a free transfer.
Barca intends to appeal the ruling.
The issue between the league and club over the player is a longstanding one. Barca signed Gavi to an extension through 2026 last September while the Sevilla-area native was still an academy player. There was a release clause inserted into the deal that stipulated that Gavi could leave the club on a free transfer should he not be registered as a senior player by June 30, 2023. The reclassification of a player can only occur during a transfer window.
Because La Liga considered Barcelona in breach of their salary limit rules, a matter that has been contested by the club for a number of seasons now, Gavi could not be registered during the January window until Barca sought a court injunction to allow the registration to go ahead. The club sought the court ruling without informing the league and cited a "harassment campaign" by La Liga as the reason that Gavi's registration couldn't be completed.
On Jan. 31, the court granted a temporary injunction to force the league to register Gavi and also gave the club 20 days to a new suit towards a permanent resolution. With a Feb. 20 deadline, Barcelona filed suit on Mar. 2. In documents sent to both parties that were viewed by The Athletic, the court confirmed that Barca submitted their new suit after the deadline.
On Tuesday, the league confirmed to The Athletic that the temporary injunction had been lifted and Gavi's status as an academy player had been restored.
In practical terms, Gavi can continue to appear for the club for the remainder of the season, but his shirt number has been reverted from No. 6 back to his academy No. 30.
Gavi has made 20 league appearances for Barca this season, scoring a goal and adding two assists.