Spain’s Public Prosecutor WILL proceed with a case against Barcelona
Spain’s Public Prosecutor WILL proceed with a case against Barcelona and former president Josep Maria Bartomeu… after discovering £1.2m payment made to the vice-president of Spanish football’s referees’ committee
- Spain’s Public Prosecutor has decided to proceed with a case against Barcelona
- An investigation revealed a £1.2m payment from Barcelona to referee committee
- Courts will now decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the case
Spain’s Public Prosecutor has decided to proceed with a case against Barcelona for corruption in sport, it was reported on Tuesday.
According to El Pais, the public prosecutor will file a lawsuit against the club and their former president Josep Maria Bartomeu for payments to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira while he was the vice-president of Spanish football’s referees’ committee.
Courts will now decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence for the case to be heard.
At an earlier event on Tuesday Barcelona’s current president Joan Laporta was asked about the scandal and he said: ‘Barça has never bought referees and Barça has never had any intention of buying referees. Absolutely never. The forcefulness of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story.’
Laporta said he plans to hold a press conference to explain the situation in the coming days.
Spain’s Public Prosecutor will proceed with a case against Barcelona for corruption in sport
The public prosecutor will file a lawsuit against the club and their ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu for payments made to the vice-president of Spanish football’s referee’s committee
La Liga head Javier Tebas had said that no action could be taken by the Spanish League because the statute of limitations had passed.
And the Spanish Football Federation said that since current president Luis Rubiales took power in 2018 Enriquez Negreira has not been part of the Referees’ Committee and that it is now prohibited for any member of the body to be employed as a consultant by any club.
Spain’s public prosecutor will now need to show that results were influenced directly as a result of services paid for Barcelona.
The controversy first hit Barcelona last month when a tax investigation into a company owned by Enriquez Negreira revealed a payment from Barcelona of £1.2m, during a two-year period up to 2018 – paid for ‘technical advice on referees’, while he was vice-president of the Referees’ Committee.
El Mundo subsequently reported that payments from Barcelona to Enriquez Negreira’s company date back to 2001 and total 6,6m euros.
Barcelona issued a statement admitting to having contracted the services of an ‘external’ consultant who ‘provided technical reports related to professional refereeing in order to complement information required by the coaching staff’, something that it said was ‘common practice in professional football clubs’.
Courts will now decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence for the case to be heard
Later Spanish media El Mundo revealed that when Barcelona stopped paying Enriquez Negreira, his lawyers faxed them referencing a relationship that had ‘lasted so many years with so many favours rendered and so many confidences shared’.
El Mundo also revealed that Negreira had sent another fax to Barcelona in 2019 that said he would ‘publicize all the irregularities I have known and experienced at first hand in relation to the club’, if an agreement were not reached between the two parties.
The fax also states that Enriquez Negreira was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by then-Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu’s decision to end the working relationship.
Despite the fax Barcelona did completely cut ties with Enriquez Negreira in 2018 and there were no subsequent revelations.