Regarding payments paid to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of Spain’s referees committee, Barcelona is accused of corruption.
This month, it came to light that between 2001 and 2018, Barcelona reportedly paid Negreira and a business he owns a total of 8.4 million euros (£7.4 million).
The indictment against Barca, previous club officials, and Negreira for “corruption,” “breach of trust,” and “false business records” was made public in court in Barcelona on Friday.
The club as well as past presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell are the targets of these proceedings, which were filed by the public prosecutor’s office in Barcelona.
According to the public prosecutor’s office, “FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira so that, in his role as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA), and in exchange for money, the latter performs actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in rulings by the referees.
The president of La Liga at the time, Joan Laporta, should step down if he is unable to justify the payments, according to La Liga CEO Javier Tebas’ comments made last month.
Laporta responded by claiming he will not give Tebas “what he’d like by stepping down” and the charges came three days after Laporta stated his team had “never bought referees”.
He declared on Tuesday, “Let it be clear that Barca have never purchased referees and Barca have never had the aim of purchasing referees, definitely never.
Where did we come from?
The payments were made public last month by radio station Ser Catalunya during a tax probe into Negreira’s business Dasnil 95.
Barcelona reportedly paid the company 1.4 million euros (£1.2 million) between 2016 and 2018, while they reportedly paid Negreira, 77, nearly 7 million euros (£6.2 million) between 2001 and 2018, the year he resigned from his position on the referees’ committee.
In order to “supplement the information necessary by the coaching staff,” Barcelona revealed that the club had hired Dasnil 95, which it referred to as “an external technical consultant,” to produce video reports about professional referees.
Additionally, it stated that professional clubs “habitually practice” contracting the reports.
After 18 of the 20 La Liga clubs released a statement expressing their “great concern” over the situation, and Laporta said that the club would open an internal investigation into the payments, the matter reached a critical point.
Coach Xavi of Barcelona, who played for them between 1998 and 2015 and won eight La Liga championships, claimed he was unaware of the payments and never felt that his team had an advantage.
“I’ve always aimed to triumph fairly. If I had suspected wrongdoing, I would have returned home “When Barca and Manchester United drew 2-2 in the Europa League last month, he stated.