European giants have been caught after giving bribe to a referee
Recent developments have raised the possibility of Barcelona facing expulsion from the prestigious Champions League due to financial transactions involving former Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) vice-president, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
Ongoing throughout the year, this legal matter has escalated, with reports from El Debate suggesting that UEFA might consider removing Barcelona from the Champions League, deeming it appropriate in light of the circumstances.
Over a period spanning 2001 to 2018, Barcelona is believed to have transferred €7.5 million ($7.9 million) to companies owned by Negreira.
this timeline includes the tenure of the club’s current president, Joan Laporta. Laporta has staunchly maintained that these financial transactions were legitimate payments for consulting services.
The legal battle began when the Barcelona provincial prosecutor’s office charged the club with “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field” in March. Subsequently, UEFA initiated its own investigation.
The charge has since evolved to bribery, as the judge contends that Negreira was “participating in the exercise of public functions” during the period he received funds from Barcelona.
Adding to Barcelona’s concerns, a judge noted in a court order that proving that Barcelona “adulterated” competitions in Spain may not be necessary for a potential trial.
The core argument is that bribery occurs when an official is remunerated to perform a favor, irrespective of the favor’s fulfillment.
Barcelona now faces the arduous task of proving their innocence in court. However, this emerging information raises the grim prospect of UEFA imposing a ban on the club from participating in European tournaments, a scenario that would constitute a severe financial setback for Laporta and his board.