La Liga champions Barcelona have been officially charged with bribery in the case of Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
According to reports, Spanish police have conducted raids at the headquarters of the Spanish Referees’ Committee (RFEF) as part of an investigation into payments made by FC Barcelona to a firm owned by a former official of the body.
Barcelona under the microscope by Spanish police
Prosecutors say that the Catalans paid Negreira, an ex-referee and the former vice-president of Spain’s refereeing committee between 2001 and 2018, $7.7m in order to influence referee decisions.
According to Spanish news outlet El Mundo, the Spanish Civil Guard found that Negreira helped run an “irregular operation” which “would not have always had impartial support”.
If found guilty, Barcelona could be kicked out of competing in the Champions League from next season.
Even more worryingly for Barca, the timeframe of the investigation also includes current president Joan Laporta’s first reign at the club.
RFEF workers are understood to have been taken by surprise by this morning’s raid in Madrid.
Barcelona are yet to officially comment on the matter ahead of tomorrow’s home match against Sevilla.