By Jude Obafemi
February 09, (THEWILL) – Football giant, Barcelona, have been slapped with a €23 million fine after being found guilty of tax evasion between 2012 and 2015. An investigation revealed that the club failed to properly declare payments to football agents, in order to avoid paying taxes.
The scheme is said to have begun under President Sandro Rosell and continued under his successor, Josep Maria Bartomeu. Barcelona deliberately falsified documents and sent payments to players under the guise of payments for non-existent services to agents. In reality, the club was remunerating agents for transfers and player contracts.
In total, Barcelona owe €8.7 million in back taxes. However, heavy penalties for the scale of tax evasion have seen the fine balloon to €23 million. Barcelona acted quickly to confirm their intention to appeal the ruling, claiming “divergent criteria” and unfair treatment compared to other clubs.
This is not the first time Barcelona have been mired in financial scandal. In 2021, the club confirmed over €1 billion in debt that threatened their viability. This latest ruling, which the club claim requires no immediate payment, will nonetheless put further strain on stretched finances.
The tax evasion scheme allegedly took place solely under previous presidents Rosell and Bartomeu. Current president Joan Laporta will be desperate to steer the club away from future controversy. Yet, this significant fine threatens to hamper squad rebuilding plans by the club, especially in the face of manager, Xavi Hernandez’s decision to leave after this campaign.
About the Author
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.