Barcelona, ​​ex-president face corruption charges over referee pay scandal

Prosecutors in Spain confirmed on Friday that they have filed corruption charges against Barcelona and former club presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu over payments made to the former vice-chairman of the refereeing committee.

Ex-club executives Oscar Graves and Albert Soler are also listed among the defendants, along with former referee José María Enriquez Negreira, whose company received around €7 million ($7.5 million) from Barca from 2001 to 2018.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)

He is accused of corruption in sports, corruption in business, false administration and falsification of business documents.

A statement from prosecutors said: “Through Presidents Rosell and Bartomeu, Barcelona entered into and maintained a strictly confidential oral agreement with the defendant Negreira, so that, as Vice President of the Referees Committee and in exchange for money, he With the aim of making refereeing decisions in matches played by the club and thus in favor of Barcelona in the results of competitions.

Bartomeu replaced Rosell, who was Barca’s president from 2010 to 2014. After six years at the helm of the Catalan club, Bartomeu resigned in 2020, with Joan Laporta eventually chosen as his replacement in 2021.

Barca says the payments made to Negreira’s company, Dasnil 95 SL, were for “technical reports on refereeing” and argues that such services are common at the top end of the sport.

Laporta, who could be called as a witness because he was also president from 2003 to 2010, disputed this week that the club ever bought off the executives.

“Barca have never bought a referee or an influence,” he said on Tuesday. “That was never the intention and that should be clear. The facts contradict those who are trying to tell a different story.”

Until now, Negreira, who quit his role as vice-chairman of Spain’s refereeing committee in 2018, was the sole focus of an investigation into payments of €1.4m he received from Barca from 2016 to 2018, when he was flagged by the tax office. Was shown

However, after reviewing the payments made from 2014 to 2018, prosecutors have now decided to pursue charges against Rosell, Bartomeu, Grau and Soler as well.

Payments made before that period do not appear on the indictment.

LaLiga chief Javier Tebas has said that Barcelona cannot face any playing ban in Spain because more than three years have passed, but he has promised to reconsider the matter once the legal proceedings reach their conclusion. Have done

Both the Spanish Football Federation and LaLiga have also provided information and documents on the matter to UEFA, which may still decide what action to take based on the outcome. FIFA could also step in, although world football’s governing body has yet to respond to ESPN’s request for comment on the latest development.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button