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Barcelona involved in potential scandal involving large payments to former VP of referees—report

The Spanish Prosecutor's Office investigates the company of the former VP of referees who received undocumented payments from Barcelona while in office.

2017-18 La Liga - Real Madrid vs Levante Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Breaking news reported by Cadena Ser last night has dropped a monumental bombshell on Spanish football. The report reveals that FC Barcelona paid a company owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira €1.4 million from 2016-2018. During that time, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira was in office as the vice president of Spain’s Technical Committee of Referees. That role involved hiring, analyzing, and deciding on referee personnel for all of Spanish football’s fixtures.

Barcelona have quickly come out today and denounced the report, insisting that all payments were “advisory”, and normal for any big club. Laporta has fought back this morning, stating that the report’s timing is no coincidence and has been released now, as they are high flying, and it is an attempt to destabilize their season. Laporta has threatened legal action against those who suggest the payments were unlawful.

The years under investigation by the tax authorities are 2016, 2017, and 2018. During this time, there were three payments made by Barcelona to DASNIL 95, which was the company owned by Negreira. Neigreira has come out and claimed that the payments were for reports on how players should behave in front of each official. Barcelona have claimed that the reports were to provide player scouting at the youth levels and referee reports for coaching staff.

A column from Spanish outlet, Revelo, this morning revealed that Enriquez Negreira was ranked as the 4th highest official, out of the history of Spanish refereeing, to send off the most players from Real Madrid (9). He is the 3rd ranked referee to have officiated the most Real Madrid games and with him as a referee Real Madrid had the worse percentage of defeats.

News will likely continue to develop in the coming days and weeks, but the question now is what will the league and Spanish federation do if the charges are proven to be illegal? In Italy, Juventus were relegated to Serie B and deducted 22 points for similar conduct back in 2005. This is a potential historic day in Spanish football and the ramifications could be felt for years to come.

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