In a significant legal blow to FC Barcelona, Spain’s National Court has upheld a previous ruling, mandating the football club to pay a substantial fine of nearly €23 million. The verdict, rooted in alleged tax evasion, revolves around payments made to footballers’ agents during the period spanning 2012 to 2015.
The National Court’s decision follows an unsuccessful appeal by Barcelona against the initial ruling issued in June 2020 by the Central Administrative Economic Court (TEAC). The court rejected the appeal, solidifying the position that the club owes the substantial sum related to income tax (IRPF) linked to payments to agents.
At the heart of the matter is the nature of the services provided by agents, as highlighted in the National Court’s ruling. Contrary to Barcelona’s claims, the court contends that the remuneration paid to agents is subject to taxation, as these agents are perceived to be offering services to the players rather than the club.
The court’s perspective challenges the notion that agents are acting on behalf of the club, asserting that they actually represent the players and act in their individual interests. The ruling suggests that the relationship between FC Barcelona and the agents served as a guise to conceal payments made by the club directly to players.
“It appears that the club is reimbursing the agent for non-existent services, when in reality part of the remuneration is being paid to the player,” stated the National Court’s ruling.
This legal setback not only places a substantial financial burden on FC Barcelona but also raises questions about the club’s financial practices during the specified period. The football world will be closely monitoring how the club navigates these challenges and addresses any potential consequences for its reputation and future operations.