The president of a French village team has been suspended by the French Football Federation (FFF) after he launched a transfer bid for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Cedric Enjolras, president of FC Borne, has been hit with a six-month ban, three of which are suspended, after he attempted to lodge the joke bid with the Catalan giants.
Borne, a village of 400 people, play in the second division of the Haute-Loire league and their transfer offer was blocked by the player registration office of the FFF.
"To submit bids among small clubs, you need to fill out forms on the internet," Enjolras is reported as saying by The Guardian. "I decided to register a bid so I typed the name Lionel Messi, his date of birth and his parent club into the system. Then the league transmitted the request to the federation.
"They were shocked by it and refused to send it to their Spanish counterparts. I have been suspended for six months, of which three are suspended. It was just a joke, to amuse friends."
The FFF failed to see the funny side of the audacious bid and described the club's behaviour as unacceptable.
"One cannot accept such behaviour," said Yves Begon of the player registration office. "It is perhaps a joke but we are here to judge the facts."