Spanish courts agree to investigate Barcelona corruption case
Spanish courts have agreed to investigate allegations of ‘continuous sporting corruption’ against Barcelona after prosecutors filed charges last week.
Barcelona have been accused of making payments to former vice president of the refereeing committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, in exchange for information about match officials and their potential appointments.
Negreira, a former La Liga referee himself, is alleged to have received roughly €7m from Barça between 2001 and 2018 in exchange for this information by way of detailed reports and video analysis.
While current club president Joan Laporta has insisted that Barcelona committed no wrongdoing in asking for ‘technical reports about referees’, charges submitted by prosecutors on Friday accuse former presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu of having an arrangement with Negreira in which “he would carry out actions aimed at favouring Barça in the decision-making of the referees in the matches played by the club and thus in the results of the competitions.”
Reports from Spain have already claimed that there could be a lack of key evidence in this specific accusation.
Other reports state Barcelona could be barred from entering next season’s UEFA Champions League on these grounds, though La Liga president Javier Tebas has already said they cannot face a sporting sanction on home soil as the charges are beyond the three-year threshold in which clubs can be held to account for such irregularities.