Report: Ex-referee threatened to reveal ‘scandal’ when Barca ended payment

MADRID, 02/17/2023 (AFP) – Barcelona are facing further questions over millions of dollars in payments to a former referee chief’s company after it was revealed on Friday that the amount in question was four times the amount originally declared.

According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, between 2001 and 2018, Barcelona paid over €6.6million to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, former vice-president of the refereeing technical committee, for the club’s oral advice on refereeing-related issues.

That’s far more than the €1.4m reported in the media on Thursday, when La Liga president Javier Tebas said no sporting sanctions could be imposed as it happened more than three years ago.

El Mundo also claim that after Barca decided to stop the payments, Negreira sent a fax to the club on February 5, 2019 threatening them with exposing a ‘scandal’.

The online investigation site El Confidencial also revealed on Friday that two other companies are being investigated in connection with the affair.

Soccercam SL is owned by Negreira’s son, while Tresep 2014 SL, owned by Josep Contreras Arjona, a former Barca director who died in December, was allegedly used to funnel payments to the former referee.

“We will wait for those responsible for the good governance of the Spanish championship to shed light on this situation that we have learned about through the media,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Friday during his trip to Slovenia.

Barcelona are currently top of La Liga but the revelations saw Manchester United draw 2-2 in the Europa League on Thursday.

“If I saw us win by cheating, I would go home,” Barcelona coach Xavi said in the post-match press conference.

Tebas said Negreira shouldn’t have provided services to Barcelona for ethical reasons and the club shouldn’t have made any payments.

He said that no sporting sanctions could be imposed but that punishment under the “criminal jurisdiction” is a different matter.

“Now the public prosecutor’s office is investigating the events and whether there may have been a corruption offense between individuals,” he said

The Spanish Football Federation has requested information on the payments from Barcelona and the Technical Committee for Referees (CTA).

The investigation began after Spanish tax authorities found irregularities in tax payments made between 2016 and 2018 by the company Dasnil 95 – owned by Negreira, vice president of the CTA from 1994-2018.

Dasnil reportedly received payments from Barcelona 95 between those years.

According to Cadena Ser Radio, the last bill was issued in June 2018. After this, the CTA was restructured and Enriquez Negreira left the organization.

Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barca’s president at the time, told reporters the club decided to forego those services to cut costs.

Negreira, who refereed in La Liga from 1977 to 1992, denied favoring the club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *