Barcelona is under investigation for “active bribery” in Spanish football.
Probe part of a broader corruption investigation spanning two decades in the Spanish refereeing committee.
Searches were conducted at the offices of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in Madrid.
In a significant development, Spanish football giants Barcelona find themselves under investigation for suspected “active bribery,” as disclosed in a court document.
This probe is part of a wide-ranging investigation into alleged corruption spanning two decades within the Spanish refereeing committee. Simultaneously, authorities executed searches at the offices of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in Madrid, marking a critical turn in the ongoing inquiry into potential “systemic corruption” within the refereeing system.
This investigation is unfolding against the backdrop of a moment of reckoning for Spanish football, particularly the RFEF, which has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse involving its former chief, Luis Rubiales.
The scope of the refereeing investigation has now expanded to encompass Barcelona as a primary suspect. Investigating judge Joaquin Aguirre Lopez had earlier indicated in September that the club might have benefited from corrupt practices.
Prosecutors initiated action in March, complaining about alleged payments exceeding 7.3 million euros (approximately $7.8 million) made over a staggering 17-year period to companies owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
Negreira had served as the vice-president of the RFEF’s refereeing committee from 1993 to 2018.
Barcelona vehemently denies any wrongdoing, asserting that they had compensated an external consultant who supplied them with “technical reports related to professional refereeing.”
The club contends that this practice is commonplace among professional football clubs.
This unfolding investigation continues to cast a shadow over the integrity of Spanish football, raising critical questions about the fairness and transparency of refereeing decisions in one of the world’s most prominent football leagues.