- A Spanish magistrate’s investigation suggests that FC Barcelona’s payments to the Former Vice President of the Referees Committee led to “systemic corruption” in Spanish football, affecting rivals like Real Madrid.
- FC Barcelona faced charges of “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field” for payments made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018.
- Club president Joan Laporta maintains the payments were for legitimate consultation work, and UEFA cleared the club for this season’s Champions League.
- Reports suggest an “irregular operation” within the Technical Referees Committee involving officiating decisions that weren’t always impartial.
- The magistrate’s resolution indicates that Real Madrid and other First Division teams during the years under investigation could be harmed by the alleged plot.
Emerging reports highlight a significant development in the world of Spanish football, as FC Barcelona finds itself entangled in allegations of “systemic corruption” stemming from payments made to a Former Vice President of the Referees Committee. These transactions, according to a Spanish magistrate overseeing ‘Caso Negreira,’ are believed to have caused substantial damage to FC Barcelona’s rivals, with Real Madrid being notably affected.
AMPLIACIÓN | Para dar un salto a las diligencias, el juez ha acordado que se practiquen nuevos requerimientos de documentación a la RFEF y a la Federación Catalana de Fútbol, así como al propio FC Barcelonahttps://t.co/j2RvL1LL8d
— El Confidencial (@elconfidencial) September 5, 2023
The controversy traces its roots to payments made by FC Barcelona to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, totaling at least €7.3 million ($7.9 million) over the course of 2001 to 2018. This resulted in the Barcelona provincial prosecutor’s office lodging charges of “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field” against the club in March. These payments have since come under intense scrutiny.
Joan Laporta, the president of FC Barcelona, remains steadfast in defending the club’s actions. He asserts that the payments were made in exchange for legitimate consultation services and emphasizes that they do not indicate any wrongdoing on the part of the La Liga champions.
Intriguingly, even prior to these recent developments, UEFA had already given FC Barcelona the green light to participate in the upcoming season of the Champions League. Meanwhile, reports from El Mundo shed light on an “irregular operation” within the Technical Referees Committee (CTA), suggesting that officiating decisions may not have always been impartial under the leadership of ex-president Victoriano Sanchez Arminio and vice-president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
The most recent revelation stems from an ‘auto,’ or a resolution, authored by magistrate judge Joaquin Aguirre. El Confidencial reported that the resolution attributes “systemic corruption” to the payments made by FC Barcelona to Negreira. This finding raises concerns about the potential widespread implications of the alleged corruption.
Furthermore, Aguirre’s resolution hints at the possibility that not only Real Madrid but any other First Division team that shared the field with FC Barcelona during the years under scrutiny may have been adversely affected by the alleged corruption scheme.