- Spanish police conduct a raid on the referees’ committee offices linked to alleged corruption.
- Barcelona is accused of making payments to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira for favorable refereeing.
- Both Spanish authorities and UEFA are looking into the matter.
- No arrests made during the Madrid search; Barcelona denies any involvement.
Details of the Raid and Allegations
The spotlight is on Barcelona after Spanish law enforcement made their way into the offices of the referees’ committee. This action is part of a broader probe into allegations of Barcelona’s illicit payments to an official, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, who previously held a vice-presidential position in the committee. The core accusation? Barcelona might have been financially swaying decisions on the pitch.
Spanish police have raided the offices of the Spanish football federation as part of an investigation into the alleged payment of millions of euros over several years by Barcelona to the vice-president of Spain's football refereeing committee 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/K4UE4UPeeH
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 28, 2023
UEFA’s Parallel Investigation
European football’s governing body, UEFA, hasn’t turned a blind eye. They’ve embarked on their own examination of these claims, closely following the Spanish authorities’ lead.
The Money Trail
Digging deeper into the financial details, it’s alleged that Barcelona channeled 8.4m euros to Negreira and his company, Dasnil 95. The payments under the lens include 1.4m euros made between 2016 and 2018 to the company and an aggregate amount of about 7m euros paid directly to Negreira from 2001 to 2018. The former vice-president’s exit from the referees’ committee coincided with the end of these payments.
🚨 Barcelona have been officially charged with “active bribery” in the Negreira case. ⚖️
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) September 28, 2023
Barcelona, however, offers a different narrative. They’ve recognized their financial transactions with Dasnil 95 but label the firm as “an external technical consultant.” The club states the payments were for video reviews on referees, aiding their coaching staff with more intel – a practice they claim isn’t uncommon among top-tier clubs.
Football Community’s Response
This incident hasn’t gone unnoticed among Barcelona’s peers. In February, a whopping 18 out of 19 La Liga clubs shared a collective statement, signaling their deep concern over the allegations. Despite the looming cloud of suspicion, UEFA gave Barcelona the green light to participate in the current Champions League season, but with the investigation still in progress.
In summary, as Barcelona navigates these turbulent waters, football enthusiasts worldwide await clarity on these serious allegations. The outcome of this investigation could have significant implications for the club and the world of football.