La Liga

Barcelona face corruption charges over payments to former referee official

The Laliga side have been charged with buying referee officials

Barcelona has been charged with corruption in connection with payments to a former referee official.


The club allegedly paid more than €7.3 million (£6.4 million) to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, who served as vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee from 1993 to 2018.

A Barcelona court heard on Friday that Barca, former club officials and Negreira had been indicted for ‘corruption’, ‘breach of trust’ and ‘false business records’.


Prosecutors claim that Barcelona had a secret agreement with Negreira that guaranteed the club favourable decisions in La Liga games and other competitions.

‘FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira in order for the latter, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and in exchange for money, to carry out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in referee decisions,’ the public prosecutor’s office stated.

Barcelona denied any wrongdoing in a statement last month, claiming the money was in exchange for ‘technical reports related to professional refereeing’ from an outside consultancy.


Joan Laporta

The La Liga giants went on to say that it was a “common practise among professional football clubs,” but La Liga chief executive Javier Tebas said Barcelona president Joan Laporta should resign if he couldn’t explain the payments.


Laporta stated earlier this week, ‘Let it be clear, Barcelona has never bought referees and Barcelona has never had the intention of buying referees, absolutely never.’

Despite Barcelona’s position, 18 of La Liga’s 20 clubs have expressed “deep concern” about the allegations.

Barcelona manager Xavi, who won eight La Liga titles at the Nou Camp between 1998 and 2015, stated that he was unaware of the payments and would have left if he believed his team had an unfair advantage.


‘I always wanted to win fairly,’ said the Spain legend. ‘I would have gone home if I thought we were cheating.’

Barcelona currently leads La Liga by nine points over Real Madrid in second place. Manchester United eliminated Xavi’s side from the Europa League last month.

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