Real Madrid will appear in the refereeing corruption case involving Barcelona as an “injured party” once proceedings move forward, the Spanish champions said Sunday.
Spanish prosecutors charged Barcelona with corruption on Friday, over payments the club made to a former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee through a company owned by him.
“Real Madrid expresses its deep concern about the seriousness of the matter and reiterates its full confidence in the action of justice and has agreed that, in defence of its legitimate interests, it will appear in the proceedings as soon as the judge opens them to the injured parties,” Real Madrid said in a statement.
According to Spanish prosecutors, the Catalan club paid a total of more than 7.3 million euros ($7.77 million) to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, former referee and ex-vice president of the refereeing committee of the Spanish football federation between 1994 and 2018.
Two of the club’s former presidents, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as Enriquez Negreira are facing the same charge, originating from the Barcelona prosecutor’s office.
Enriquez Negreira was allegedly paid for providing the club with advice on topics relating to referees, according to Barcelona.
On a sporting level, Barcelona face no immediate danger because the governing bodies of Spanish, European and world football have five-year statute of limitations, Liga president Javier Tebas has said.
On the criminal level, the accused could face up to four years in prison.
Sanctions against the club could range from “suspension of activity…to outright dissolution as a company,” Alberto Palomar, professor of law at Carlos III University of Madrid told AFP.