Barca under investigation for referee payment (Sports News) – FC Barcelona have been investigated after claims that €1.4 million in payments were made to a company owned by former referees committee vice president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. More details below.
Barca Under Investigation – Details
The series of payments were made to Enriquez Negreira’s company, Dasnil 95, between 2016 and 2018 during the tenure of former Barca president Josep Bartomeu. During that time, he was serving as the CTA’s vice president. According to documents ,33 payments were allegedly used to guarantee that “refereeing decisions were not made against the club.”
The investigation also revealed that Barca paid almost €7 million to Enriquez Negreira and his son, Javier Enriquez, between 2001 and 2018 to get “undocumented ‘verbal’ advice, ensuring ‘neutral’ treatment from referees.”
Furthermore, it was confirmed that Barca used a shell company owned by the club’s late director, Josep Contreras, to make the referee payments.
Barca Under Investigation – Club’s Position
In response to the controversy, Barcelona released a statement of explanation. The club failed to deny the accusations of secret payments to Enriquez Negreira. Instead, they stated that they were a “normal practice”, and were used for advice.
Barca has also stated that the report was an act of sabotage against their La Liga season, in which they are currently the title favourites. The Catalan club also threatened legal action against parties maliciously linking them with the payments.
The club statement reads: “FC Barcelona hired in the past the services of an external technical consultant, who supplied, in video format, technical reports referring to players in lower categories of the Spanish State for the Club’s technical secretariat.”
“Currently, this type of outsourced service falls to a professional attached to the Football Area,” the statement continues. “FC Barcelona regrets that this information appears precisely at the best sporting moment of the current season.”
Barca Under Investigation – Possible Punishment
Barca was reportedly set to be relegated, docked points and other punishments as a result of the investigation. However, La Liga president Javier Tebas said that the Catalan club would not be hit with sanctions, as the activity has gone beyond three-year statute for limitations (as the payments stopped 2018).
Nevertheless, the local prosecutor’s investigation will still push through, with possible criminal punishment for Barca or Enriquez Negreira, or both. The Spanish football federation has also announced that they will investigate the matter.
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