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FC Barcelona: Catalan champions charged with bribery issues, might stare at Champions League ban

FC Barcelona, the Catalan champions and European greats might face Champions League ban after they have been charged with bribery issues. It is reported that defending champions of La Liga have ‘bribed’ former leading officials, with claims of matches in the domestic and European competitions.

FC Barcelona involved in bribery scandal

FC Barcelona have been one of the consistent teams in Europe since last few seasons. They had ticked several boxes last season, bolstering their defensive set-up by the addition of Christensen and Kounde, and have reinforced their attack and midfield by the addition of former Manchester City skipper Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Felix. They sit on third position currently in the La Liga table, closely behind Real Madrid and Girona, and have started their Champions League journey with absolute carnage over UCL debutants Royal Antwerp FC, winning 5-0. But, sometimes, destiny brings us some bad news which might tarnish our reputation as the defending Spanish champions are facing a similar issue over last couple of months.

According to Spanish news outlet El Debate, judge Joaquin Aguirre has held Barca responsible for possible bribing accusations, as he has mentioned previous payments of the club to former vice president of Technical Committee of Referees, Jose Enriquez Negreira. He has reported that Barcelona was involved in several monetary deals, with amount ranging to 6 million pounds, with Negreira. Previously, Spanish media AS had reported that Barca had paid installments to Negreira from a period of 2001 to 2018 for “undocumented” verbal advice, which would clarify neutral treatment from match officials in crunch fixtures.

It has also been heard that former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, along with former official Negreira and his son Enriquez Romero, have all been charged. As of the present scenario, Barcelona is treacherously staring at an ominous Champions League ban. Current president Joan Laporta has been tight-lipped regarding this incident, as he believes there are a ‘mass’ of people who are trying to bring Barcelona’s image down. La Liga president Javier Tebas had previously asked Laporta about a possible explanation regarding this scandal, as the law clearly states that no official can receive any sort of award for completing their performance, by the public stance of Supreme Court, as the judicial body classifies Negreira as a person who performed a public function.

An ominous ban

With this bribery charge surfacing, FC Barcelona find themselves in a hapless situation where they can neither focus on their next games, nor they can play well. They are on top of their Champions League group, and will be facing Portuguese heavyweights Porto next. It has been alleged that Negreira used to receive money on the perspective of a shell company, which was created by former Barca director Josep Contreras, as he earned 50% commission from these monetary deals.

After the details surfaced few months back, former referee Alberto Gimenez claimed to have fallen in a trap set by Negreira, who used to call him to his “secret-match fixing meetings.” Gimenez was heard saying via RadioMarca, “Negreira pressured me. He met me with other referees and told me: ‘Hey chicken, be careful with what you say on television. You already understand me. Be careful’. There is a formula for fixing matches. It’s a fool’s trap: I’m a friend of ‘such and such’ who will support you, you give me so much and I’ll fix it for you. If the result is negative, the money is returned. If he wins, he is marked for life. If he loses and returns the money, he has another chance.”

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