In case you’ve been living under a rock or you just don’t follow Europa League teams, FC Barcelona have been hit by a rather serious scandal in recent weeks. This has come to the surprise of nobody, least of all former Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Rummenigge had no trouble suggesting that there were irregularities in Barca’s treatment by the referees. His comments are captured by Football Italia:
“I laughed when I read the news, but I am not surprised.”
“Every time we played in Spain I had a strange feeling. These are unacceptable things that do not only concern the domestic competition and even the refereeing issue must be faced with seriousness and respect.”
For reference, FC Barcelona have been caught making hidden payments to former head referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreria under multiple presidents (including Joan Laporta, in his first term) for over 20 years. A breakdown can be found in this article by Sid Low on The Guardiola. In short, it looks very bad for Barcelona and La Liga.
Nothing is supposed to come out of it, since apparently La Liga has a pitifully short statute of limitations, and the offenses already fall outside their purview. This was confirmed by chief Javier Tebas, a man who would tear the Camp Nou down brick-by-brick if he had the chance, so you know that the consequences will be non-existent.
As a debate rages in Germany about refereeing standards following Bayern Munich’s loss to Borussia Monchengladbach, let us take a moment and be thankful that the Bundesliga doesn’t have any similar scandals hanging over its collective heads. At least, none that we know of …