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Barcelona: Refeeries scandal and risk of relegation


What happens to Barcelona behind the scenes?

Futbol Club Barcelona is facing several accusations before the Spanish courts for continuous corporate corruption, through sports fraud. Its former presidents and former executives were denounced for disloyal administration.

What will happen to Barça as an institution? And its leaders? Will they be held accountable as natural persons? Check-out!

The plot

The investigation carried out by the Spanish Tax Agency, which began in May 2022, had as its main target the former referee and vice-president of the Spanish Refeering Commission, Enríquez Negreira.

Negreira case: Enríquez Negreira and FC Barcelona: A corrupt referee or a conman? | Sports | EL PAÍS English Edition

Atypical movements were identified in Negreira’s accounts and, upon investigation, it was found that Futbol Club Barcelona had transferred between 2001 and 2018 approximately 7.3 million euros to Dasnil 95 SL, Negreira’s company.

According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Dasnil 95 SL had Barcelona as its only customer and made payments without any kind of approval by the club’s general meeting.

According to the newspaper “El Mundo”, between 2014 and 2018, 33 payments were made from Barcelona to the aforementioned company.

The law

The allegations classify Barcelona’s conduct as illegal, having committed the crime of continuous corporate corruption with sports fraud. This framework has become part of the Spanish Penal Code since 2010, causing Barça to suffer severe penalties.

Former directors Josep Maria Bartomeu, Sandro Rosell, Óscar Grau and Albert Soler are accused as individuals of disloyal administration.

The Tax Agency of Spain had as its main focus the years 2014 to 2018. During this period, in which transactions from Barcelona to Negreira were verified, it was alleged by the club that the former referee had provided advisory services, therefore the agency requiered the presentation of documents proving the effective provision of the service. Barcelona responded that the documentation was not found.

Thus, the Tax Agency of Spain understood that the invoices then issued by the company would be invalid.

The fact that Negreira occupies the position of vice-president of the Referees Technical Commission, would have configured an informal agreement between him and Barcelona so that the club would be favored in several games.

Also, according to the newspaper El País, in a transcript made by Globo Esporte, Negreira would have sent a letter in a threatening tone, after the interruption of payments by the then president of Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“- Personally, I do not manifest any animosity towards anyone at the club, not against you or especially against Mr. R or Mr. C, and I am not willing to divulge all the wrongdoings that I have known and experienced at first hand in relation to someone at the club, but you will force me to do it if you do not reconsider your decision and fulfill the agreement we had to continue to count on my services until the end of the presidential term. Mr. R, as vice president and president and vice versa, without saying anything else, agreed with me on the agreements that today you intend to break with impunity – the text would say.”

Relegation possibility

Evidently, if it is found through an investigation by the Spanish Football Federation that Barcelona has in fact transferred funds to a high-ranking member of the Technical Referees Commission, the club could suffer various punishments, including relegation.

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So, let’s see what article 22 of the RFEF regulation says:

“Observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the principles of fair play, which includes, in particular, the obligation to refrain from carrying out any activity that jeopardizes the integrity of the RFEF or its competitions, or imply the discredit of football.

Refrain from accepting or giving gifts, as well as from accepting or giving any benefit that could reasonably be considered excessive according to local culture and customs, including invitations from third parties who have a future interest in the decisions of the RFEF. In case of doubt, the General Secretariat of the RFEF should be consulted.”

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Still, based on the Royal Decree on Sports Discipline, published in the Official Gazette of Spain in 1993. Article 14 states that “actions intended to predetermine, by price, intimidation or simple agreements, the result of a match or competition” can category loss or relegation.”

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Escrito por Vitor F L Miller

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