Joan Laporta remains firm in his roadmap: Barcelona has not bought referees and the club is the victim of a smear campaign. However, the president of the Barcelona entity continues without giving details of the ‘Negreira case’. “We will hold a press conference to talk about the issue,” stressed the Barça top manager at an event organized by the Godó Group at the Círculo Ecuestre in Barcelona. But while Barça’s explanations drag on, the Prosecutor’s Office, as reported this afternoon by EL PAÍS, will accuse the Barça club of continued corruption in business, a crime that came into force with the 2010 penal reform and that includes fraud in the sports field, for the payment of almost seven million to José María Enríquez Negreira, former vice president of the CTA (Technical Committee of Referees), between 2001 and 2018, through his company Dasnil.
“Barça has not dedicated itself to buying referees. Barça will not be harmed. I don’t know the vice president of the CTA,” said Laporta. And he insisted: “Let it be clear that Barça has never bought referees, nor that it has had the intention of buying referees. Absolutely never.” The Prosecutor’s Office points to the money that Negreira withdrew, in cash, from banks. The final destination of that money, however, is unknown.
The relationship between the Dasnil company began during the Gaspart period (2000-2003) and lasted through Laporta’s first term (2003-2010) and the presidencies of Sandro Rosell (2010-2015) and Josep Maria Bartomeu (2015-2021). . The end of the relationship provoked protests from Negreira, who threatened to charge against “all the presidents” of Barça. The investigation of the prosecutor’s office, however, understands that there are indications of a crime of corruption in business committed by the payment of almost seven million to Negreira during the time in which he was vice president of the CTA. And, although this committee does not choose the referees for the matches, it does have the power to decide on the promotion and relegation of the referees. Barça also paid other amounts to the son of the former referee, Javier Enríquez, for arbitration reports of which there is documentary evidence. Payments were made through a company belonging to the former director of the club Josep Contreras (now deceased) who in return received commissions of up to 50% of what was paid to the coach sports.
However, although Laporta had assured that he considered “those technical and player consultations necessary” and that all the reports had been paid “with the corresponding invoice and had documentary and video support. That was done like this during my previous term, ”he again haggles the in-depth analysis of the situation. And, instead, he looks at Javier Tebas.
“They are running a campaign to harm the interests of Barça. It is a campaign aimed at controlling the club. LaLiga has not accepted that Barça did not sign with CVC, which forced us to sell the television rights for 50 years. We find better solutions”, said Laporta. In the summer of 2021, Barcelona (together with Real Madrid) did not accept the pact proposed by Tebas, president of the LFP, to transfer 10% of television rights for the next five decades in exchange for 270 million. “LaLiga and CVC have an interest in controlling Barça. We defend this model of ownership of the partners and partners”, remarked Laporta. And he concluded: “Barça will not enter another ownership model. They want to suffocate us financially to end up being a Public Limited Company. I see attempts, but they are not truthful enough”.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.