Spanish La Liga giants FC Barcelona is at the centre of a major controversy. The club has been accused of corruption over payments made by the club to the former vice-president of the Spanish referees committee. As per reports, the payments were in the millions and by virtue of this the club could face a massive punishment which may also include being expelled from the UEFA Champions League.
While Barcelona has constantly denied indulging in any wrongdoing, it came under scrutiny after the club's transactions became public. While, the payments were initially investigated as a part of the tax probe, but upon digging deep it was found that the club has been in contact with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, and payments of millions have been made.
Now the prosecutors have officially accused Barcelona of corruption. The decision, made official on Friday, was reported by Spanish newspaper El País. An investigating judge will decide whether the accusations should lead to charges.
The club could face huge financial penalties, and Negreira, former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu, and former directors Oscar Grau and Albert Soler could face up to four years in jail. Courts will now decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that Negreira used money paid to him by Barcelona to influence matches in the club’s favour.
Following a substandard 2021/22 season, FC Barcelona pulled financial levers to make many huge signings in the summer. The club has a new goalscorer in the form of Robert Lewandowski and the defence line is changed. In La Liga, the Xavi Hernandez side has fared well, the team is currently nine points ahead of the second-placed Real Madrid and are on course to win the La Liga trophy.
As far as the UEFA Champions League goes, Barcelona’s misery continued in this tournament. The club crashed out from the group stages and then had to play in the Europa League for the second season in a row. FC Barcelona failed to edge out Manchester United in the Europa League and ended the European campaign with a 2-1 loss against The English club. The club is currently alive in the Copa Del Rey and are leading the semifinal tie against Real Madrid 1-0.