FC Barcelona News: The Blaugranas charged with bribery for referee payments corruption
European football giants Barcelona were charged with alleged bribery for payments worth more than €7 million ($7.3m), to companies owned by the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. He has previously been a referee in the Spanish top-flight league. Some reports claimed that the payments were made from 2001 to 2018. Negreira was then a vice-president of the refereeing committee. This latest news can even result in Barcelona's suspension from the Champions League.
Former Barcelona presidents Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell are accused of the same charges. Rosell was the president of the Catalan Giants from 2010 to 2014. Bartomeu took charge after Rosell. Joan Laporta is the current Barcelona president. He has rejected any kind of wrongdoing as he previously claimed that the payments were for "technical reports on refereeing".
Barcelona head coach Xavi shared his opinion during a news conference on Thursday. "You know my opinion. I have never had the feeling that the club have benefitted from refereeing. Never. I don't have time to reflect on much more than that, I'm focused on sporting issues. Next week there will be another Negreira story, in 15 days another, and then more a month," the former Legendary Blaugrana midfielder said.
Spanish police also raided the offices of the refereeing committee at the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) located in Madrid on Thursday for documentation.
"All RFEF personnel have collaborated at all times with the request for information from the authorities. The RFEF remains at the disposal of the Justice for the sole purpose of clarifying the facts under investigation as soon as possible," the Spanish federation said in an official statement.