FC Barcelona appears clear of refereeing controversy

FC BarcelonaFC Barcelona, the Catalan soccer powerhouse, has previously been accused of misbehavior by Spanish authorities.

Former club presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu were accused of taking bribes from the former vice president of the referees committee.

Yet, new information in the sports scandal indicated that Spanish officials found no proof of repeated payments.

What happened?

Cheating in athletics has always been condemned, no matter the nation.

FC Barcelona was accused of bribing José Maria Enriquez Negreira, vice president of Spain’s officiating committee, in order to benefit the squad.

The following declaration was made:

“Through presidents [Sandro] Rosell and [Josep] Bartomeu, Barcelona reached and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with the defendant Negreira, so that, in his capacity as vice president of the refereeing committee and in exchange for money, he would carry out actions aimed at favoring Barcelona in the decision making of the referees in the matches played by the club, and thus in the results of the competitions.”

The former presidents & payments

Sandro Rosell was the president of FC Barcelona from 2010 to 2014, when Josep Bartomeu took charge.

Bartomeu remained in charge of the sporting superpower until 2020, when he resigned, and Joan Laporta replaced him in 2021.

The cash was sent to Negreira’s firm, Dasnil 96 SL, according to Barcelona.

They were apparently created for “technical reporting on refereing,” assuming that such services were common in the game.

Laporta, president from 2003 to 2010, would be called to testify.

He, on the other hand, denied that Barcelona had bribed the authorities.

“Barca have never bought referees nor influence,” said Laporta. “That was never the intention, and that has to be clear.”

“The facts contradict those that are trying to tell a different story.”

Meanwhile, Negreira issued his own comment, saying:

“FC Barcelona considered that the team was harmed and other teams were favored. This is a personal hypothesis, nobody has told me directly.”

“My obligation was to give my opinion about the matches in terms of arbitration and the players. Technical advice.”

“What FC Barcelona wanted was to make sure that no decisions were made against the club, that everything was neutral.”

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Investigations and charges

In 2018, José Maria Enriquez Negreira stepped down as deputy president of Spain’s referees committee.

Despite the fact that he has been out of job for years, he was the only target of a tax office probe for payments from Barcelona totaling roughly €1.4 million ($1.51 million) between 2016 and 2018.

Prosecutors indicted Rossell and Bartomeu, as well as ex-FC Barcelona officials Oscar Gau and Albert Soler, after scrutinizing payments from 2014 to 2018.

Yet, after a three-year wait, La Liga president Javier Tebas ruled that FC Barcelona will not face sporting sanctions.

He did, however, agree to return to the subject when the legal proceedings were concluded.

The Spanish Football Association and La Liga have presented UEFA with the necessary papers and information.

Individuals may decide to take action as a result of the outcome.

FIFA might just get involved.

The latest development

The FC Barcelona money-laundering probe is progressing.

The newest results, according to EFE, suggest that the club’s €7.5 million ($8.1 million) payments to Negreira had no impact on on-field decisions.

The allegations include a failure to explain and document the millions of euros handed to Negreira’s business interests, implying that the club continued to pay for illicit services.

The allegations are a significant win for FC Barcelona after the charges earlier this year turned the club on its head.

The club has remained silent on the subject, preferring to concentrate on external probes and internal operations.

After acquiring all of the essential proof and information, Joan Laporta intended to talk with the press.

According to Laport, Barca will soon give intelligence that is ready to strike and protect.

A former La Liga referee also testified on Barcelona’s side, alleging that Negreira never asked him to influence decisions in favor of the Catalan club.