Expert warns Barcelona could get RELEGATED from La Liga if found guilty of corruption charges
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A Spanish law expert has admitted that Barcelona could face relegation from La Liga if they are found guilty of corruption charges.
Last week Barcelona were charged by the public prosecutor's office in relation to payments made to a company owned by the former vice-president of the national referees' committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
The current La Liga champions are accused of buying influence over refereeing decisions betwen 2001 and 2018, an allegation the club strongly denies.
A number of other parties including Real Madrid, the Spanish FA and La Liga themselves have joined the complaint against Barcelona.
Now, Joan Maria Xiol, the president of the Catalan Sports Court, has admitted that relegation to the second division should not be ruled out if the charges are proven.
"The possibility of a relegation may occur," he said, via BeSoccer.
"UEFA can judge events that have no international significance. If there is evidence of irregularities, they can act. Also on the sanctions list is the possibility of losing titles."
In response to the charges, Barcelona released a statement explaining why they made the payments.
"In the past Barcelona contracted the services of an external technical consultant, who provided, in video form, technical reports referring to players from the youth categories of the Spanish state for the club’s technical secretary.
"Additionally, the relationship with this external provider expanded to technical reports related to professional refereeing, with a view to complementing the information required by the first-team and academy coaching staff, a usual practice in professional football clubs."
Barcelona added that they "will take legal action against those who damage the club's image with possible insinuations" of wrongdoing, a message echoed by club president Joan Laporta over the past few days.
"Recently, there are ferocious attacks towards us to put dirt on our public image that are far away from the reality,” an emotional Laporta said on Monday.
"You can be certain this board that I am honoured to lead, will defend the club from those attacks with all our strength."
After Barca defeated Athletic Bilbao away from home on Sunday, manager Xavi admitted he was "saddened" that some home fans chanted for his side to be relegated, and threw fake bank notes onto the pitch.
Featured Image Credit: PA/Alamy
Topics: Barcelona, Xavi, Joan Laporta, La Liga, Real Madrid, Champions League