On the 9th of September 2021, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), joined the legal process being undertaken against FC Barcelona, in relation to allegations of corruption and the misuse of funds, during the signing of their Brazilian player, Neymar Jr. The RFEF has filed a lawsuit, in which it is seeking payments for a fee, which it believes was unfairly distributed, among the different football federations within Spain.

The RFEF has been in charge of managing and regulating professional football in Spain, since its inception in the year 1909. It is considered to be the oldest football association in Spain, and, as such, has played an integral role in shaping Spanish football history. Over the years, the association has faced numerous challenges, such as the emergence of unscrupulous agents and players, who use illegal means to secure contracts or tamper with match results. The RFEF has worked tirelessly to combat these acts of misconduct, by imposing stringent regulations, regularly monitoring player transfers, and ensuring the integrity of the sport, at all times.

The lawsuit is related to FC Barcelona’s controversial signing of Neymar, in 2013. The Brazilian player had been signed by the Catalan club, for the sum of €57 million. However, it later emerged that this figure had been grossly underestimated, and that the true cost of the transfer, including all the hidden fees and bonuses, was closer to €83 million. This revelation caused a great deal of embarrassment for the club, and led to widespread calls for investigations into the deal.

The RFEF’s involvement in the case arises from Barcelona’s failure to pay a transfer fee, which it owed to the Spanish Football Federation, as a result of the Neymar transfer. The RFEF claims that it is owed €2.2m, which should have been directly paid to the federation, as part of the deal. However, Barcelona allegedly chose to circumvent this requirement, by paying the amount to a separate account, controlled by the player’s father. The RFEF contends that the funds were then distributed among various Brazilian football federations, thus depriving the regional Spanish federations of their rightful share of the fees.

The legal process, which began in 2015, has been long and complex, with numerous false starts and delays. Initially, the case was presided over by Judge Pablo Ruz, who then handed it off to his successor, Judge Jose de la Mata. However, both judges recused themselves, for different reasons, and the case was then finally assigned to Judge Carmen Lamela. In February 2021, Judge Lamela referred the case to the National Court, thus giving it a new impetus.

The RFEF’s decision to join the legal battle comes as no surprise, given its commitment to fighting corruption and safeguarding the interests of regional football federations. In a statement released to the media, the RFEF made it clear that it had taken this step to ensure that justice was served, and to prevent any further breaches of regulations in the future. The move has been widely applauded, by various stakeholders within the Spanish football community, who view it as a strong signal, that the RFEF is committed to upholding the rule of law, and promoting transparency and accountability, at all levels.

Whilst the case against FC Barcelona continues to unfold, it is important to acknowledge the role played by the RFEF, in bringing this issue to light, and pursuing justice, on behalf of all concerned parties. The association’s unwavering commitment to the principles of fair play, integrity, and honesty, serves as a model for other football federations around the world, and sends a powerful message, that corruption and malfeasance, will not be tolerated, under any circumstances.

In conclusion, the RFEF’s decision to get involved in the legal battle, against FC Barcelona, over the Neymar transfer, is a clear indication of its strong stance, against corruption and financial impropriety, within the sport. The association’s commitment to holding all parties accountable, and to seeking just and equitable outcomes, serves as an inspiration to all fans of football, and reaffirms the importance of upholding the values and traditions, which lie at the heart of this beautiful game. We need more federations that share the ethos of the RFEF and work towards promoting fairness and integrity in football, at all levels.