Spanish Sport Chief condemns Barcelona campaign for Messi

Barcelona's football star Lionel Messi (2ndL) leaves the courthouse on June 2, 2016 in Barcelona. The 28-year-old football star was cheered and jeered as he emerged from a van accompanied by his father Jorge Horacio Messi. The two are accused of using a chain of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros ($4.6 million) of Messi's income earned through the sale of his image rights from 2007-09. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE

Spain Secretary of State for Sport Miguel Cardenal has slammed Barcelona’s pro-Lionel Messi campaign, insisting the move is ‘totally wrong’.

Barcelona launched a social media campaign in support of Messi after he and his father were handed a 21-month jail sentence for tax crimes.

But Cardenal who spoke to reporters in Spain as reported by believes the La Liga Champions should accept the judgment of the court on the matter.

“If the aim of this campaign is to raise a complaint over a court decision, it is totally wrong. We are in a modern democracy with an independent and competent judiciary.

“We must respect and abide by these decisions, not make campaigns of this type to disagree with a judgement in this case.

“I think this player or any other would be very happy to live in a country with an advanced system such as we have for social protection, education and health. It’s based on compliance with the rights and duties of citizens.” Cardenal is quoted as saying on AS reports concerning Barcelona’s stance on the Messi tax fraud.

Messi and his father Jorge stood trial for defrauding Spain of more than €4m (£3.1m; $5m). The Barcelona man who appeared in court last month was ordered to pay a fine of around €2m while his father Jorge was fined €1.5m.

Meanwhile, Barcelona in a statement through its spokesman Josep Vives on Tuesday confirmed that their talisman is not planning to quit the club after his prison sentence a Barcelona court.