In the absence of an institutional declaration or an official communication from the Barcelona board of directors, there are individual interventions on the criminal proceedings opened against the entity for the payment of 7.3 million to the former vice president of the referees José María Enríquez Negreira for 17 years (2001-2018). Most result in the same idea: Barça never bought a referee and their practices with respect to referees have been similar to those of any club in the League.
Enric Masip, adviser to the Barça presidency, explained that “Barça has not done anything wrong” nor is it afraid that “something will happen” to them and Gerard Piqué is willing to “put his hand in the fire” for Barcelona. The former captain said that the accusations “do not have any logic” during an interview with Jordi Basté in Rac1. None of those who have spoken, however, has surpassed Joan Laporta for the moment. “I really want to face the scoundrels who stain our shield”, proclaimed the president of Barça.
Laporta appealed to emotion from his condition as an irreducible culé in an act with the captains of the professional teams and the lower categories. “Barcelona sentiment cannot be bought or sold, but it does not get dirty either”, he insisted in a parliament so passionate that he had to warn that he was not moved “out of weakness” but because of his esteem for Barça in front of an audience in which there were several children in a day promoted by the Center of Sports Excellence of Barcelona.
The president preferred to impress rather than reason so as not to answer the question that is bad for the club and that places it outside the conventional framework so alluded to since the Camp Nou: why did Barça pay 7.5 million over 17 years to a manager arbitral? No other club is known to have gone to such an extreme in its friendly or intimidating relations with members and therefore it is useless to go around the matter in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable after being discovered for wanting to cheat with the Treasury.
It is not yet known what service the money was used for while its route is being tracked, reason enough to speculate about blackmail, extortion, payments to third parties and of course to try to “favor” the team in making arbitration decisions or guarantee their neutrality. , according to the Prosecutor’s Office. The accusation is not proven, and it may not be possible to prove it, unlike the proven clumsiness of the club’s rectors, from the one who devised the bill to the one who closed it, through the one who increased it, regardless of the consequences. that he could have for Barça.
While waiting to find out if it is a crime, the Barca procedure is unethical and is as reprehensible as it is punishable, no matter how much the presumption of innocence assists Barça. The silence of the Camp Nou is as deafening as the noise of those who already started the accounts of the penalties called and titles won by Barça while Enríquez Negreira was in the CTA. Laporta’s attitude, who cannot claim ignorance because he was involved in the invention, does not help to mitigate Barcelona’s reputational damage either.
Although he is partly right because he has been summoned as a witness and whatever he says now can play against him later, the president would do well to act resolutely to explain that the mistakes of the managers do not have to be assumed by the players, nor by them. current nor the previous ones, protagonists of the golden age of FC Barcelona (2003-2015). He has to define responsibilities to save the pitch from the stain that invades the Camp Nou meeting room.
Laporta, who is also no stranger to success, not only has to explain to his partners but also demonstrate to the courts that the footballers achieved victory by being better than their rivals and oblivious to the dealings of their rectors, an exercise that, unlike the Neymar caseforces them to assume the blame —those that fall to each president— or, on the contrary, they will take away what they have earned and perhaps even what remains to be won in their painful time in the League.
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