'They have nothing because there is nothing!' - Barcelona president adamant that Blaugrana are INNOCENT in referee payment scandal
- Club shelled out over €7 million to senior ref official
- Being charged by UEFA, Spanish authorities
- Laporta maintains Barcelona's total innocence
WHAT HAPPENED? It was revealed in February that the Blaugrana paid a total of €7.3 million to a company owned by the vice-president of the Spanish technical committee of referees over a nearly 20-year period. The club insist they received referee scouting reports in return. However, both Spanish authorities and UEFA are investigating Barca for potentially more serious issues.
Barcelona have denied all allegations, with club president Joan Laporta being especially vocal about his side's lack of wrongdoing.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Laporta maintained Barca's innocence to a Barcelona supporters group on Sunday: "They have nothing because there is nothing. Here what they have done is magnify a situation in which one of the people who was linked to these companies was a former referee and a former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees. [Negreira] had no capacity to alter the results of any match because he did not designate the referees."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The legal case against Barcelona has been up and running for nearly six weeks. And although the Blaugrana were handed a boost by the conclusion that authorities could not prove that they had engaged in match-fixing, they could face serious sanctions for other violations.
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WHAT NEXT? Laporta, who has shied away from addressing the charges in full for nearly two months, will hold a press conference Monday morning, where he promised to explain Barcelona's perspective.