BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona is not facing sanctions for having made payments for technical reports on referees to a company that belonged to the vice president of the refereeing committee, the Spanish league said Thursday.
League president Javier Tebas said sports sanctions such as loss of points or relegation are not possible because there was a three-year statute of limitations for the alleged irregularities that occurred through 2018.
Tebas said separate corruption charges would depend on the outcome of an investigation being conducted by prosecutors. The payments are under investigation as part of a tax probe into the company of the former member of the Spanish federation’s refereeing committee.
The federation said it has requested information about the case from both Barcelona and those in charge of the refereeing committee.
Barcelona on Wednesday denied a possible conflict of interest for paying for information on how referees officiate. The payments totaled 1.4 million euros ($1.5 million) from 2016-18, and were considered to be well above market value. Such technical reports are common practice, with clubs paying other companies or having them prepared internally.
Barcelona said the news about the payments was released to try to destabilize the team’s good run.
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