All La Liga clubs express 'deep concern' over Barcelona referee payments - except Real Madrid
- All but two clubs condemn Barca's actions
- Assured that La Liga will "act firmly"
- Emphasised desire to "preserve integrity"
WHAT HAPPENED? It emerged last week that Barca had sent €1.4 million to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees in Spain. The club made 33 separate payments to Negreira from 2016-18. Since then, La Liga and two clubs — Sevilla and Espanyol — have made statements in isolation.
The rest of the league has now banded together to make their feelings known about Barca's alleged activity in a release of their own. However, Real Madrid refused to be involved in the statement.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The so-called 'Negreira Case' has now developed into one of the biggest scandals in Spanish football history. Still, La Liga is unable to punish Barcelona for their actions, since their payments occurred outside the league's statute of limitations. However, Miquel Iceta, Minister of Culture and Sport, speculated Monday that legal prosecution could be an option.
WHAT THEY SAID? The clubs released a lengthy statement condemning Barcelona:
"Most of the LaLiga Clubs expressed their deep concern about this case, which they consider to be of the utmost seriousness, for which the proposal for a joint communication received the unanimous support of all LaLiga SmartBank clubs and all LaLiga Santander clubs except for two, who objected to this joint statement for different reasons," it read.
"LaLiga and its Delegate Commission reject and repudiate the facts, and are deeply concerned and actively working to clarify any irregularities that may have occurred around the Negreira case, whether sporting or of any other nature."
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WHAT'S NEXT FOR BARCELONA? The Blaugrana face Manchester United in the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie this Thursday. The case against them, meanwhile, will continue to drag on.