Real Madrid to take legal action against Barcelona for referee scandal

Real Madrid will join a complaint filed by Spanish prosecutors on Friday against Barcelona and two former LaLiga club presidents over alleged payments to a company owned by a senior refereeing official to influence match results, the club said on Sunday.

Champions League and LaLiga holders called an urgent board meeting to discuss alleged attempts by arch-rivals Barcelona to influence referees and decided to take legal action over what prosecutors called “serious allegations”.

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“Real Madrid expresses its deep concern about the seriousness of the facts and reiterates its full confidence in the course of justice and has agreed that, in defense of its legitimate interests, it will file a complaint as soon as the judge handles the matter.” Will join in.” , “said the club in an official statement.

Barcelona allegedly paid more than €7.3 million between 2001 and 2018 to firms owned by José María Enriquez Negreira, who was vice-president of the Spanish Football Federation’s refereeing committee from 1993-2018.

Prosecutors allege that under a secret agreement and “in return for money,” Negreira “favored Barcelona” in refereeing decisions in games played by the club, as well as in the results of competitions.

A senior Barcelona official told Reuters on Friday that the club had expected prosecutors’ complaint and described it as “nothing more than an absolutely preliminary investigative hypothesis”.

The official added that the club would “cooperate fully with the investigation in every possible way” and “reiterate that they have never bought any referee or tried to influence the decisions of any official.”

In a statement last month, Barca denied wrongdoing, saying they had only paid an external consultant who provided them with a “technical report relating to professional refereeing”, calling it “a common practice among professional football clubs”. Said practice”.

The complaint focuses on €2.9m paid between 2014 and 2018 and allegations that Barcelona – with the help of former presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu – reached a “confidential oral agreement” with Negreira.

It accused the club, Rosell, Bartomeu, Negreira and two other former Barcelona executives, of corruption in the sport, improper administration and falsification of business documents.

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