Barcelona football club has been accused of making payments worth around €7M to a company owned by former referee José Maria Enríquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018. The payments were allegedly made in exchange for referee decisions in Barcelona’s favor. The case was first reported by SER, and it has since been revealed that the payments stopped in 2018, the same year Negreira was no longer vice-president of a referee committee.
According to El Mundo, Negreira threatened to reveal certain irregularities of Barça if they didn’t resume his payments. However, in the end, nothing happened. Yesterday, the prosecutor’s office made the complaint effective and filed charges against Bartomeu, Rosell, Barça (as a legal entity), and Grau, only for payments made from 2014 to 2018. Other football organizations, such as RFEF and La Liga, have also provided documents regarding the Negreira case to UEFA, which could take action depending on the eventual outcome. It is not yet known if FIFA will be involved.
The prosecutors will continue the investigation, and witnesses and those accused will testify if a hearing is held. If the magistrate feels it’s necessary, the case will then go to trial. Currently, the consequences that Barça will face aren’t known. Legal sources have suggested that, at best, Barça could face an economic punishment if necessary. La Liga has ruled out a sporting sanction.
Real Madrid has also released an official statement on the Negreira-Barcelona scandal. Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has called an urgent meeting with the board of directors to decide on the appropriate course of action. The statement says that the accusations of corruption and their relationship with Negreira are concerning and require an urgent response from the club.
This scandal has rocked the football world, and fans around the globe will be following the developments in the case closely. For Barcelona, this could be a significant blow, and the consequences of the Negreira case could be severe. However, until further details emerge, it remains to be seen what the ultimate outcome of the investigation will be.