The Spanish government’s top sports authority will take action against Barcelona in the legal proceedings the club is facing for payming millions of euros over several years to a company that belonged to the vice president of the country's refereeing committee.
José Manuel Franco, president of Spain's sports council, revealed on Telecinco that the government will join the other accusing parties in the legal proceedings against the club.
The council is the latest to announce plans to act after prosecutors formally accused Barcelona of alleged corruption, fraudulent management and falsification of documentation. An investigating judge will decide whether the accusations should lead to charges.
On Sunday, Real Madrid announced after an urgent board meeting they will also side against their biggest rivals, becoming the latest club to express concerns about the case. LaLiga and the Spanish football federation (RFEF) also plan to act.
Barcelona have been under scrutiny since the payments to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the vice president of the refereeing committee, became public last month.
The Catalans have denied any wrongdoing or conflict of interest, saying they paid for technical reports on referees but never tried to influence their decisions in games.
Club president Joan Laporta has stated that Barcelona are “innocent of the accusations” and have been “the victims of a campaign, that now involves everyone, to harm its honour” - adding that “many will be forced to rectify” their claims.
In court documents seen by The Associated Press, Spanish prosecutors have set out that the payments by the club totalled as much as €7.3million (£6.4m) from 2001 to 2018. They added that this “quantity was not justified because it was not foreseen in the statutes of the club nor approved by its general assembly”.