Barcelona referee scandal
Earlier this year, Spanish prosecutors have filed charges for alleged corruption against Barcelona and two former presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu. From 2001 to 2018, the Catalan club paid more than 7 million euros to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. Prosecutor's claim is that under the agreement, Negreira favored Barcelona in the decisions taken by referees in the games played by the club, as well in the results of the competition. This could be the biggest earthquake in European football in recent history.
In a statement from February, Barcelona denied everything. They said they had paid an external consultant who supplied them with technical reports related to refereeing. Also, the Catalan club added that something like that is common in professional football.
After an investigation in Spain, the UEFA governing body also took their investigation. UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin, who already doesn't have a good relationship with Barcelona, and other clubs that tried to create European Super League, said, in his opinion, this is the most serious situation in football that he has ever seen.
According to Spanish newspapers, LaLiga president Javier Tebas sent controversial documents to the prosecutors. After that, Barcelona asked for the resignation of Tebas. They claim that all pieces of evidence are false.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas said the scandal is the worst reputational crisis he can remember in Spanish football. He also called on the Barcelona board to explain everything.
Real Madrid, Spain's Higher Sports Council and several other LaLiga clubs have indicated they will also join the case and take legal action against Barcelona.
What is interesting is that Barcelona will not have any competitive consequences in the domestic competition because LaLiga has a three-year statute of limitations. The last payment between Barcelona and Negreira happened in 2018, so the league can't punish them. On the other hand, UEFA could punish them as their decisions are not time-barred. There are growing fears that UEFA could ban Barcelona from European competitions for some time.
It is interesting that Barcelona, between 2001 and 2018, had probably the best two decades in its history. The Catalan club won nine LaLiga titles in that period. Also, Barcelona won four Champions League titles between 2001 and 2018. Of course, that was an era of Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and others, but these accusations will put a different, darker light on successful years.