Relief for Barcelona! No sanctions expected over referee scandal despite La Liga president questioning their 'ethics'
- Statute of limitations over
- Barca could still face criminal investigation
- Club paid company owned by referee VP
WHAT HAPPENED? Barcelona made 33 separate payments to a company owned by the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees from 2016-18. In total, Barcelona shelled out around €1.6 million, according to El Mundo.
However, the club will not face sporting sanctions, as the period in question happened outside of La Liga's statute of limitations. La Liga can only investigate any complaints up to three years after the alleged rule-breaking occurred. Tebas suggested that the club could still face criminal punishment.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona's sporting integrity has been called into question as they shelled out a hefty sum to an individual so closely associated with the day-to-day refereeing in La Liga. However, the club insist that they were looking for scouting reports on particular referees, and ensuring that all appointments were neutral.
WHAT THEY SAID?: Tebas questioned Barca for their practices but admitted that La Liga was unable to investigate.
“It’s clear that these services should never have been provided,” the Tebas said. “It won’t be possible for Barcelona to receive disciplinary sanctions. Five years have gone by and [the period in which to hand out] these types of sanctions expires after three years."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Tebas added: “On a sporting level it isn’t possible, but it may be on a criminal level. The prosecutor’s office is looking into the facts to see whether a match-fixing crime has been committed by individuals. We’ll see how the investigation turns out."
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR BARCELONA? The Catalan club will not face any sporting sanctions. However, a criminal investigation might be possible, and they will await the results of that while still dealing with their separate financial woes.