When the ‘Negreira’ case broke out, FC Barcelona was forced to carry out damage control. The public disclosure that the club, between 2001 and 2018, was paying the then vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees, José María Enríquez Negreira, and his son Javier for making arbitration reports at exorbitant prices, has caused great pressure on the entity from many fronts; the judicial one, because there is an investigation underway, that of other clubs and also the media .
Barça commissioned an external investigation and the results are expected to be known shortly. President Joan Laporta plans to give all the necessary explanations in front of the media. Based on the Sports Law, the Azulgrana club cannot be penalized for sports because of very serious infractions, and this surely would be, prescribe after three years. Another issue is the investigation of the Tax Agency for corruption between individuals, which will have to be seen in how it is resolved.
From Madrid, they are insisting a lot that even UEFA and FIFA could harshly punish FC Barcelona, for example by expelling it from its competitions, but the reality is that the Barça club is very calm after making some inquiries when all the controversy became known.
To begin with, the ‘Negreira’ case is strictly national and UEFA and FIFA could only enter if there were international involvement, which is not the case. The hypothesis of possible punishment by the highest body of European football is very distant because first FC Barcelona should first be sentenced for corruption and today the Spanish prosecutor’s office has not yet opened anything at all. Only in that case, UEFA could initiate its own procedure for not complying with the admissibility regulations.
What is clear is that this whole case is damaging the image and reputation of the Barça club, which hopes to have the results of the investigation soon so that it can begin to defend itself and initiate the reputational recovery that all levels of the club expect. Meanwhile, they have no choice but to wait for the events that arise, knowing, yes, that they will hardly receive punishment at a sporting level.
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