Barcelona might be on course to win La Liga, but there are plenty of other worries for the Blaugrana at the moment.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Spanish giants have found themselves mired in controversy following their decision to pay a senior executive, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, over $7.4 million (€7 million) between 2001 and mid-2018. Negreira is a former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees, an organizing body that helps in the organization (promotion and demotion) of referees and thus is involved in the decision-making process behind who gets to referee specific games.
According to a witness statement from Negreira, Barcelona's payments were to ensure that they would receive referees who would guarantee that decisions went in their favor. While the Blaugrana have vehemently denied this, the fact remains that they are still under investigation and could face some harsh punishments, including being banned from European competitions by UEFA for next season.
Although other sources have claimed that investigators have not been able to conclusively prove that Barcelona paid to influence officiating decisions per se, they can still be found guilty of other administrative violations and interfering in key processes. To that end, the team's executive board are apparently weighing their options carefully, and that includes the possibility of looking to play in another league entirely.
This is not the first time Barcelona have been linked with breaking away with La Liga. Back in 2015, the Blaugrana were offered the chance to play in Ligue 1 by then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls as Catalonia, where Barcelona are based, were voting on whether they wished to become independent from Spain. Should that have passed, there were concerns that Barcelona might not be allowed to remain in Spain's top flight.
Eight years later, there are once again rumblings that the link between Barcelona and La Liga could come under some serious strain. This time, there have been other leagues floated around, including the cash-rich Middle East. It's a shocking thought for Barcelona to be no longer affiliated with one of the world's top leagues, and it remains to be seen if this latest trouble turns into something more serious or if it turns out to be really much ado about nothing.