Barcelona referee scandal: La Liga club denies wrongdoing after paying $1.5 million to referee chief’s company
Barcelona paid almost $1.5 million to former referee committee vice president José María Enríquez Negreira through his company between 2016 and 2018., according to a stunning report in Spanish from Cadena SER. Disgraced former president Josep Maria Bartomeu claimed that the payments were made legally and then completed as part of spending cuts.
Barcelona’s official statement confirming the receipt of refereeing reports from the company states: [the club] wants to clarify:
“What’s in the past Barcelona ordered the services of an external technical consultant who provided technical reports in video form regarding players from the youth categories of the Spanish state to the technical secretary of the club.
“Furthermore, the relationship with this external provider has expanded to technical reports related to professional officiating in order to supplement the information needed by the first team and academy coaching staff, which is a common practice in professional football clubs.
“Currently, these types of external services are entrusted to a professional assigned to the football zone. Barcelona regrets that this information came at just the best sporting moment of the season.
Barcelona will take legal action against those who damage the club’s image with possible insinuations, contrary to the reputation of the institution, that can be put forward on the basis of this information.
According to Bartomeu, such payments have existed since the early 2000s, despite the fact that the former head of Barcelona Joan Gaspar denied the existence of such amounts. Joan Laporta, who became president in 2003 after the end of Gaspard’s three-year term and returned in 2021, confirmed that there were additional payments, but said they were for regular consulting services.
“Following the information that appeared in the Cadena Ser, it should be said that Barcelona in the past used the services of an external consultant to report on players from the youth categories of the Spanish state,” Laporta said. “At the same time, the same external consultant gave refereeing advice, which is very common in big clubs, as it has always been done.
“Indeed, we now have this judicial council. In the organizational structure of the club, he is in the department of football with a full norm. The news surprises me, it is no coincidence that it has come out now. that any tendentious interpretation hinting at the wrong things will receive a proportionate and adequate response from the club, therefore we reserve all actions necessary to protect the honor and interests of Barcelona.
“And I want to be clear, kules: it’s not a coincidence that this information has come out now, this information when things are going well. It’s not a coincidence.”
The Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Enriques Negreira’s DASNIL 95 SL for person-to-person corruption, which is related to a tax audit of tax violations that, according to Cadena SER, amounted to nearly $1.5 million from 2016 to 2018. The investigation is also underway because Enriques Negreira did not provide documentation. proving that he was doing Barca a favor.
Enriques Negreira told Cadena SER that his advice was verbal and concerned the behavior of the players with the referees. DASNIL was owned by Enriquez Negreira and run by his son Javier Enriquez Romero, and Enriquez Negreira denied ever supporting Barça in any refereeing decisions or disputes.
“The CTA wants to make it clear that Mr. Enriques Negreira has not been part of any federal structure since 2018,” the Comite Tecnico de Arbitro (CTA), in charge of refereeing in Spain, said in a statement. “CTA deplores behavior that may violate its code of ethics. No current judge or member of the CTA bodies may perform any work that could result in a conflict of interest. The CTA provides the authorities with the opportunity to offer its full cooperation with any information it may provide.”