FC Barcelona may be sanctioned and relegated from La Liga or having points docked after they were accused of paying the former Vice President of the Technical Committee of Referees, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, €1.4mn during the rule of former president Josep Bartomeu.
Negreira held his role at the Royal Spanish Football Federation from 1994 to 2018. From 2016 to 2018, the Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office alleges, Barca paid the amount to a company he owned named DASNIL 95.
Que t’hi jugues on Wednesday, explained on SER Catalunya radio program that the former La Liga referee received $571,000 in 2016, $580,000 in 2017, and $341,000 in 2018 through DASNIL 95.
Testifying before the prosecutor’s office, Negreira and his son denied that Barca ever received any preferential treatment as per refereeing decisions.
They claim that the money was paid due to advisory work that Negreira carried out on how players should behave towards referees, and he also gave tips on what they can or cannot do depending on which official was refereeing a certain match.
Thus far, however, Negreira has reportedly been unable to produce any document that proves he provided these types of services for FC Barcelona.
The club has reacted to the revelation through a statement.
It noted that it had hired the services of an ‘external technical consultant’, but denied any wrongdoing while also lamenting that the news has come at a time when Barca are back on their feet as La Liga leaders by some 11 points.
“Given the information broadcast today on the SER Catalunya program Què t’hi jugues, FC Barcelona, aware of the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating payments made to external companies, wants to make it clear.
“That FC Barcelona hired the services of an external technical consultant in the past, who supplied, in video format, technical reports referring to lower-category players in Spain for the Club’s technical secretariat,” it began.
“Additionally, the relationship with the external provider itself was extended with technical reports related to professional arbitration in order to complement the information required by the coaching staff of the first team and the reserves, a common practice in professional football clubs.
“Currently, this type of outsourced services falls to a professional assigned to the Soccer Area. FC Barcelona regrets that this information appears precisely at the best sporting moment of this season,” it concluded, while promising legal action against “anyone who spoils the Club’s image with possible insinuations against the entity’s reputation that may arise as a result of this information.”