Will Neymar be banned for the Champions League final for swapping shirts?

  • Rob Swan

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Paris Saint-Germain made Neymar the most expensive footballer of all time in 2017 because they believed he could help them become European champions for the first time ever.

PSG have been desperate to get their hands on the Champions League trophy in recent years - and now they have a golden opportunity to do just that.

The French champions will face either Bayern Munich or Lyon in Sunday’s final after beating RB Leipzig 3-0 in Lisbon on Tuesday night.

Goals from Marquinhos, Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat completed a comfortable victory for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Neymar failed to get himself on the scoresheet but the Brazilian still produced some magical moments at the Estadio da Luz.

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His primary objective now will be to inspire PSG to Champions League glory this weekend.

However, The Sun and the Daily Mail have both reported that Neymar could face a potential ban for swapping shirts with Marcel Halstenberg at the full-time whistle.

Fans have also taken to social media to express their fear that UEFA will hand Neymar an extremely harsh punishment for ‘breaking the rules’.

In their report, The Sun claim players reportedly faced a 12-day period of self-isolation if they swapped shirts with an opponent.

The post-match tradition of swapping shirts was to be blocked, according to a report from ESPN earlier this month, to help reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

However, UEFA’s 31-page ‘Return to play protocol’ suggests Neymar will be let off the hook.

Point 14.8 of the document, titled ‘Shirt-swapping’, says: “Players are recommended to refrain from swapping their shirts."

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As this is a recommendation, rather than a rule, it’s safe to assume that UEFA will not punish Neymar.

But The Sun note that UEFA’s report does add that non-compliance with the obligations “may lead to disciplinary measures in accordance with the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations."

We all want to see Neymar competing in Sunday’s Champions League final. He’s one of the world’s most exciting footballers and deserves the chance to help PSG become champions of Europe.

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Imagine the backlash if UEFA were to ban him from one of the biggest games of his career for swapping his shirt at the full-time whistle.

Such a response from European football’s governing body is surely out of the question.

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