Daniel Alves’ prison sentence sparks R$22.8 million financial crisis at São Paulo FC

Alves' stint at São Paulo has become a cautionary tale about the risks of high-stakes financial gambles in sports.
Desmond Efe-Khaese
2024-02-24 10:26:12

In Barcelona, Daniel Alves was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, an event that rippled back to São Paulo, Brazil. The football club there continues to pay a significant price for its association with him, despite his absence.

At the heart of this, São Paulo is bound to an agreement with Alves, costing them R$450,000 monthly. Club president Julio Casares disclosed to Folha de S.Paulo, “around R$22.8 million,” highlighting the gravity of their financial commitment as per the 2022 balance sheet.

29 months since Alves’ departure, São Paulo has reported payments amounting to R$2.4 million by December 2022, asserting that half of the debt has been settled. The payment obligations extend until the end of 2025, underlining the prolonged financial strain on the club.


+ + Dani Alves was sentenced in Spain to four and a half years in prison

+ + Dani Alves changes his version of events for the fifth time just weeks before trial begins

+ + Dani Alves’ mom speaks up after breaking court rule, risking his case

Why should São Paulo pay Dani Alves?

São Paulo FC’s obligation to pay Dani Alves stems from a contractual agreement they had with him. When a club signs a player, both parties agree to specific terms, including salary, duration, and conditions under which the contract can be terminated. If the club breaches this contract—for instance, by terminating it prematurely without just cause or failing to meet financial obligations—they are typically required to compensate the player.

In Alves’ case, despite his departure from the club in September 2021 and subsequent legal issues, the financial obligations São Paulo FC has towards him are a result of the agreement they entered into when he was signed. This could include salary payments, bonuses, or other agreed-upon financial terms that were not fully met upon his departure. The specifics of these agreements are often confidential, but they are designed to protect both the player’s and the club’s interests during the contract period.

Moreover, when disputes arise over contractual obligations, they can lead to settlements where a club might agree to continue payments over time. São Paulo’s continued payments to Alves, despite his imprisonment, suggest that there are outstanding obligations that the club is legally bound to fulfill, possibly due to the manner in which his contract was terminated or negotiated settlements thereafter.

Alves joined São Paulo in August 2019 with a hefty R$1.5 million salary, part of a vision that relied on marketing and partnerships to fund his fees. However, the plan faltered as the club’s debts escalated, especially during the pandemic, with São Paulo’s total debt exceeding R$600 million in 2021, R$18 million of which was owed to Alves.