·28 September 2023
·28 September 2023
Barcelona look as if they will have their day in court, after they were charged with bribery of a public official on Thursday morning.
The public prosecutor believes that Barcelona paid a public official for carrying out their role in echange for influence, in regard to €7-8m of payments made to former Vice-President of the Technical Committee for Referees Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018.
Alongside them, Enriquez Negreira, his son Javier Enriquez Romero and former Presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu are also facing the same charges.
Those individuals will then face either a fine relevant to 12-24 months of their income, or up to six years in prison. Barcelona will also have to stand trial individually though, say Relevo. The norm in these situations is that Barcelona name a lawyer from outside of the club to represent the institution. There is also a chance that the case makes it into the public courts, and is decided by a regular dury, while it can also be assumed that the prosecution have a decent amount of evidence in their favour.
If they are found guilty of bribery, the judge will have a number of options open to them for sentencing, which could range from a warning, to a fine, to a suspension from competition, to the dissolving of the club.
It is noted that the latter seems highly unlikely, but a suspension from activity or a fine would be probable. Both could incur severe consequences for the Blaugrana. In addition, UEFA would likely take action if they were found guilty, which would also likely see Barcelona suspended from European competition for a season. This would again hit Barcelona financially, and in terms of prestige and attractiveness for players.
Barcelona are yet to be found guilty of anything, but it appears the judge is not convinced by the argument that President Joan Laporta has provided – Barcelona paid Negreira as a consultant on referees.