SAO PAULO:  Santos have asked FIFA to ban Neymar for six months and pay €55m in damages for what they describe as non-compliance of contract terms over his transfer to Barcelona in 2013.

Neymar has insisted he has a letter from the Santos president that gave him permission to speak to Barcelona in 2011.

The club is invoking Article 17 of the Fifa transfer rules regarding the consequences of terminating a contract without just cause.

A FIFA committee will now decide whether there is evidence to suspend the Barcelona forward, the report said.

Transfer rules state: “In addition to the obligation to pay compensation, sporting sanctions shall also be imposed on any player found to be in breach of contract during the protected period. This sanction shall be a four-month restriction on playing in official matches. In the case of aggravating circumstances, the restriction shall last six months.”

Santos president Modesto Roma Jr. said he the suit is less “against Neymar” and more “in favour of the club.”The complaint follows the decision by a Brazilian court to freeze the assets of Barcelona star Neymar, his family and related businesses valued at 188.8 million Brazilian reals (€42m) amid allegations of tax evasion.

The 23-year-old is accused of evading 63m reals in taxes (€14m) between 2011 and 2013.

The Brazil team captain moved in 2013 from Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona in a transfer whose payment is also under investigation by Spanish tax authorities.