Why There Is A Possible Ripple Effect Beyond Barcelona
Football Club Barcelona has two sides.
One is a stylish football team heading for their first league title in four years. The other is being investigated for payments to an ex-referee. One is a club with high ambitions. The other hopes that everything won’t fall apart.
European governing body UEFA is in the process of investigating the Negreira case – in which Barcelona paid former vice-president of refereeing Enriquez Negreira and his company DASNIL 95 in various installments between 2001 and 2018, with the total allegedly totaling €8.4m ( $9.1 million). according to some reports. His president Joan Laporta has since denied any corrupt dealings by Barcelona. Moreover, he has even suggested a campaign against the Catalan club.
However, Barcelona will be concerned. If UEFA concludes that it has acted illegally, it faces severe sporting and financial penalties. These may include a Champions League ban, severe sanctions, or both. Meanwhile, there are other potential implications for Barcelona and the European game as a whole.
A Blaugrana glitch
The case hangs over Barcelona’s tangible progress on the pitch this season. And being ruled out of a top European tournament that Barcelona have to fight to win would mean a step backwards in manager Xavi’s project that will soon come to fruition.
Barcelona will be looking for names in the transfer market this summer to strengthen their squad. However, raising the necessary funds will likely depend on being able to activate more economic leverage, particularly if the board struggles to offload players from payroll bills. Of course, all sanctions would make a tricky operation even trickier.
Being unable to offer suitors engagement in the Champions League would also take its toll. While the side have performed admirably in La Liga, they will need more support going forward, particularly for 34-year-old striker Robert Lewandowski. Playing top games is an irreplaceable advertisement for budding stars who can continue to shape the team’s future.
After all, the whole affair affects his brand. Barcelona are already an iconic, exceptional brand, but their growing reliance on high-profile commercial deals and club stake sales to balance the books means they can’t afford too much bad press. The lucrative shirt and stadium sponsorship with Spotify runs until 2026 – until then escaping further chaos is a must.
League has a problem
Spain’s La Liga is also in a real dilemma. To boost the division, its president Javier Tebas wants a successful Barcelona. But he needs an innocent Barcelona even more.
In short, the league cannot win as it is now up to other sports bodies to investigate the matter. And while nothing is conclusive at this point, Barcelona’s recent past – including worrying debt – has given Tebas a headache before.
If necessary, Tebas will take vigorous action. The league has a reputable front when it comes to finances, dictating teams’ budgets and tracking their financial movements to create a sense of fairness and transparency. And the president has previously not shied away from pointing the finger, whether it’s at clubs wanting an elite Super League or the financial clout of Paris Saint-Germain.
And yet payments to Negreira – allegedly backed by former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu – have overlapped with Tebas’ tenure. Based on that, the boss needs to assess how La Liga is treating the club. Progress may involve some reforms on both sides.
Rayo Vallecano’s European dream
Aside from the Barcelona melodrama, there are possible knock-on effects further down the league standings. The relevant teams range from sixth athletic club to midfield.
In theory, should UEFA ban Barcelona from their continental competitions next season, it would allow other top teams to come into the picture (Spanish). One such team is Rayo Vallecano, a humble local club from Madrid and one of the least wealthy participants in La Liga.
Clubs like Rayo and Osasuna, who have next to no European experience, will look to capitalize on potential developments. Participation in UEFA competitions would also give these clubs a welcome financial boost. That would at least shake the status quo in Spain.
follow me Twitter or LinkedIn.