Joan Laporta calls out 'smear campaign' against Barcelona after corruption charges

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Joan Laporta Barcelona 2022-23
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Barcelona president Joan Laporta says there is a "smear campaign" going on against the club surrounding the Negreira referee payment scandal.
  • Barca under investigation from prosecutors
  • Club made €7m payments to Negreira
  • Laporta claims club are victims of smear campaign

WHAT HAPPENED? Prosecutors are investigating the club over payments that were made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), between 2001 and 2018. The payments are said to have been around €7 million (£6.2m/$7.4m) in total. However, Laporta maintains the Catalan club are innocent.

WHAT THEY SAID: “Culers, be calm. Barca is innocent of what it is accused of and is the victim of a smear campaign in which everyone is now involved," he posted on Twitter. "No surprise, we will defend Barca and demonstrate the club’s innocence. Many will have to rectify.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The city of Barcelona has denounced the club's actions as well as ex-presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu. However, Barca insist they were only interested in referee scouting reports from Negreira.

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WHAT NEXT FOR BARCA? The investigation is the beginning of what is expected to be a lengthy legal process for the Camp Nou club.