'I can help you with VAR' - What Enriquez Negreira allegedly told Barcelona after being FIRED by Catalan giants
- Barcelona held 17-year relationship with Negreira
- Accused of paying nearly €7 million to former ref
- Negreira reportedly offered "help" with VAR
WHAT HAPPENED? The connection between the Catalan giants and the former referee was revealed back in mid-February when Barcelona were found to have sent Negreira almost €1.6 million (£1.4m/$1.7m) in payments for "verbal consultancies" between 2016 and 2018. Amid an impending denouncement of "continuous corruption" to be charged to Barca, it was reported that the pair's relationship dated back as far 2001. However, recent reports from El Mundo have found that this could have extended another two years.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: That's because Negreira - then second in command in the CTA, Spain's governing body for referees - reportedly approached then-Blaugrana president Josep Bartomeu to offer his help with video refereeing. "If you are interested, get in touch," he said, according to El Mundo.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Barcelona, for their part, only offered brief responses to the CTA chief after Bartomeu and his team put an end to their relationship in 2018. As Real Madrid eventually won a league season delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Catalan side often found themselves aggrieved by several contentious decisions as a result of VAR, which was only in its second season. When Barca's rivals were crowned champions, Negreira reportedly told them: "With me you would have done better".
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WHAT NEXT? Thus far, Barcelona have denied all allegations of payments made to the official during that two-year period, with a formal denunciation from Spain's Public Prosecutor's Office expected in court on Wednesday.