Messi & Barcelona team-mates under investigation by La Liga for lunch meeting at club captain's house

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21Getty Images

Lionel Messi and his Barcelona team-mates are under investigation by La Liga for a lunch meeting at the club captain's house earlier this week, Goal can confirm. 

Spanish top-flight officials are looking into the possibility that the Barca squad breached the current coronavirus rules in place in Catalonia, which state that only groups of up to six people can meet in an indoor or outdoor setting at any one time.

Messi hosted a team meeting at his residence in Castelldefels on Monday to begin preparations for this weekend's crunch fixture against Atletico Madrid, but the players could now be hit with sanctions if they are found guilty of flouting social distancing protocols.

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What happened?

Goal can confirm that many of the players that attended Messi's get-together with their partners sat on separate tables in the garden area.

La Liga are now gathering more information on the meeting to establish whether or not the squad bubble was broken amid the continued efforts from authorities to avoid another outbreak of Covid-19.

What punishment could Barca face?

At the moment, there is no precedent for clubs or players to receive punishment for breaking coronavirus regulations in La Liga, and Barca have yet to officially comment on the investigation.

However, four Sevilla players came under the spotlight last May after attending a barbecue before the resumption of the 2019-20 campaign, with La Liga president Javier Tebas subsequently promising that "measures would be taken" against them.

The issue was ultimately resolved after the players in question issued public apologies, but Barca could also be in trouble with the Catalan government if it is established that Messi and Co were in breach of the current Covid-19 laws.

Meritxell Budo, counsellor to the Generalitat de Catalunya presidency, has said on the matter: "We know and have seen the images. The Public Health Agency that has the powers has seen them and will carry out a technical assessment in the coming days and will inform us on how to proceed."

Barca's must-win clash with Atletico

Barcelona are due to welcome Atletico to Camp Nou on Saturday, with only two points currently separating the two sides in the standings.

Ronald Koeman's men can leapfrog Los Rojiblancos into first place with a victory, but a draw or defeat would seriously damage their hopes of winning the Liga crown, with only three games left to play thereafter.

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