A Spanish court has agreed to open an investigation into allegations of corruption levelled against Barcelona last week by prosecutors.
Prosecutors filed charges against Barca on Friday following the revelation of payments made to the former vice president of the refereeing committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
Ex-Barca presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, former club executives Oscar Grau and Alber Soler and Negreira are also listed as defendants in the case.
They stand accused of corruption in sport, corruption in business, false administration and the falsification of commercial documents.
Barca paid Negreira’s company around €7 million between 2001 and 2018 while he was the vice president of the refereeing committee. He had previously refereed in the Spanish top flight.
Joan Laporta, the incumbent Barca president, has said that the payments were for “technical reports about referees” and denied the club has ever “bought referees or influence.”
However, in the indictment filed on Friday, prosecutors accused Rosell and Bartomeu of having an agreement with Negreira in which “he would carry out actions aimed at favouring Barca in the decision-making of the referees in the matches played by the club and thus in the results of the competitions.”
Rosell was Barca president from 2010 to 2014 before Bartomeu replaced him. After six years at the helm of the Catalan club, Bartomeu resigned in 2020, with Laporta elected as his replacement in 2021.