Due to the club’s payments to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of Spain’s referees committee, Barcelona is under investigation for alleged corruption.
The payment of 8.4 million euros (£7.4 million) by Barca to Negreira and a business he owns between 2001 and 2018 was made public last month.
Indictments for “corruption,” “breach of trust,” and “false business records” were made public in a Barcelona court on Friday, according to Barca, former club officials, and Negreira.
The club is the object of these lawsuits, which were filed by the public prosecutor’s office in Barcelona. The former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell are also named.
Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira and FC Barcelona “obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and in exchange for money, the latter carries out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in decisions by the referees,” according to the public prosecutor’s office.
Last month, La Liga CEO Javier Tebas stated that if current president Joan Laporta was unable to explain the payments, he should go down.
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”.
Let me be clear: Barca has never purchased referees and has never had the desire to do so, ever, he remarked on Tuesday.
What brought us here?
The payments were discovered as a result of a tax probe into Negreira’s business, Dasnil 95, which was reported last month by radio station Ser Catalunya.
Barcelona paid the business an estimated total of 1.4 million euros (£1.2 million) from 2016 to 2018, and paid Negreira, 77, nearly 7 million euros (£6.2 million) from 2001 to 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.
Contracting the reports was described as “a routine procedure among professional clubs” in the article’s addition.
The situation got worse when 18 of the 20 La Liga teams released a statement expressing their “great worry” over it, and Laporta announced that the club would open an internal probe into the payments.
Xavi, the coach of Barcelona, who won eight La Liga championships with them between 1998 and 2015 as a player, claimed he was unaware of the payments and never felt his team had an advantage.
“I always desired a just victory. If I had believed that we were lying, I would have gone home “In the Europa League last month, Barca and Manchester United drew 2-2, and following that result, he stated.