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A scandal in Barcelona

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FC Barcelona just can’t seem to catch a break off the field. For the last three years, the Catalan club has run into one problem after another. First, there was the BarcaGate scandal in which the police raided the office of then Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu and arrested him. It was followed a year later when Barcelona had to activate several economic levers to buy players in the 2022 transfer window. And now, in the latest scandal, the club has been accused of making payments for a period of 17 years to La Liga’s Vice President of the Technical Committee for Referees between 1994-2018.

These accusations have caused a massive uproar in the Spanish league. The club has looked to be on the right path to reclaiming their spot as one of the best teams in Europe, and if true, these allegations could really hamper the club and its ambition.

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So, what are the new allegations that have mired FC Barcelona?

What is the new Barcelona scandal?

The Spanish public prosecutor’s office has accused Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira of receiving payments from FC Barcelona between 2001-2018. During this period, he was the second-in-command of the La Liga refereeing body. Others accused in the case are former Barcelona President Sandro Rossell and Josep Bartomeu and also the club.

The Barcelona city administration has already started an investigation. However, the investigation will only cover a period between 2016-2018. The allegations have caused a storm because, due to the person involved in the payment, speculations have emerged that it was a bribery scandal to get favourable decisions for FC Barcelona.

However, Barcelona have vehemently denied the allegations stating that the payments had nothing to do with it. Prosecutors have said that FC Barcelona paid over €7 million to DASNIL 95 and NILSAT, both companies owned by Negreira, between 2001-2018.

The club, in their defence, has said that the payments were made to obtain scouting reports on referees in the league and were completely legal. These reports included how players should conduct themselves around different referees.

However, a report by El Mundo said that after being fired as a consultant by Barcelona, Negreira offered to help the club with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system to get favourable calls. There are also reports in the Spanish media that Negreira has admitted to prosecutors that Bartomeu had asked him to ensure that no refereeing calls went against them.

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What are the possible punishments for Barcelona? 

Since La Liga has a rule that they can only investigate matters up to three years old, this case is out of their legal jurisdiction. However, UEFA does have the power to punish the club but will likely wait for the investigation to reach its conclusion.

In cases like these, punishments depend on how severe a crime is. However, any verdict will only be reached after a long time that could take years to reach. Even then, the maximum punishment they could face is a fine or some sanctions, such as a limited transfer ban or docking of points.

And just when it seemed things could not get worse, a Spanish court rejected Barcelona’s appeal to register their talented teenage prodigy Gavi as a senior team player. This means that not only will Gavi be demoted to the youth contract, which has a clause allowing him to leave the club on a free in the summer.

If it comes to this, Barcelona will be in danger of losing a player who is a generational talent and one they developed over the last eight years.

Real Madrid statement regarding Barcelona

After the allegations came to light, Real Madrid have called for an emergency meeting regarding the allegations. The aim of the meeting is to decide on the club’s response regarding the matter. 

A press release from the club said, “Given the seriousness of the accusations made by the Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office against FC Barcelona and two of its presidents for well-founded suspicions of corruption and their relations with whoever was the vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees, José María Enríquez Negreira, the president has convened urgently to the Board of Directors tomorrow, Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 12:00 p.m., in order to decide on the actions that Real Madrid deems appropriate in relation to this matter.”

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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