Barcelona made THIRTY-THREE payments totalling €1.6m to referee vice-president between 2016 & 2018
- Blaugrana falling under the spotlight
- Adamant they have done nothing wrong
- Punishment considered to be unlikely
WHAT HAPPENED? Jose Maria Enriquez Negreir is the man in question, with La Liga giants seeking the services provided by his organisation, DASNIL 95 SL, on a number of occasions between 2016 and 2018. A new report from El Mundo has revealed that the payments totalled over €1.6 million, with it suggested that the integrity of top-flight competition in Spain was called into question by Barca dealing with a prominent figure from the world of matchday officiating. The Camp Nou outfit are, however, adamant that they did nothing wrong and were merely seeking out scouting reports on particular referees while ensuring that all appointments made were neutral.
WHAT THEY SAID: A response from Barcelona included the following statements:
- 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.
- Additionally, the relationship with the external provider itself was extended with technical reports related to professional referees in order to complement the information required by the coaching staff of the first team and the subsidiary, 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.
- FC Barcelona will take 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.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona have claimed that any suggestion of wrongdoing on their part is an attempt by rivals to destabilise them at a time in which they sit at the top of the Liga table.
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WHAT NEXT? The RFEF (Spanish Football Federation) say Negreira’s actions in dealing with Barca were regrettable, with it possible that points penalties or even relegation could be handed out if punishments are considered to be necessary. However, the expectation is that no action will be taken as it will be difficult to prove that the Blaugrana received any preferential treatment from officials.