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Barcelona charged with bribery in ongoing Negreira case

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Barcelona charged with active bribery
Barcelona has been charged with active bribery over an 18-year period. | PHOTO: FC Barcelona |
  • La Liga side Barcelona has been charged by Spanish courts with ‘Active Bribery’
  • Spanish Police raided RFEF offices on Thursday in relation to the case
  • The club has been charged with paying Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira for refereeing information over an 18-year period

Barcelona Football Club has found itself entangled in a legal web as they face charges of “active bribery” in connection with the ongoing Negreira case. This development has further fueled the controversy surrounding the club’s alleged payment to former referee chief Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira for confidential information and preferential treatment related to referees and their decisions in favor of Barcelona.

The case revolves around allegations that Barcelona engaged in a long-standing practice of paying Negreira for his “technical advice” to ensure favorable referee decisions for the club. This advice reportedly included written reports and DVDs analyzing referees’ behavior and decision patterns.

Negreira, who previously admitted to receiving compensation from Barcelona, stated that the payments were made under former club presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell. However, Barcelona has consistently denied any involvement in match-fixing or bribery. The club’s president, Joan Laporta, dismissed the accusations, stating that seeking consultation on refereeing matters is not a crime.

The situation escalated when Spanish authorities raided the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) as part of the investigation into Barcelona. While no arrests were made during the raid, it confirmed that the actions were carried out under the orders of Judge Joaquin Aguirre, who is overseeing the Negreira case.

READ: Barcelona manager Xavi signs new contract extension

In the aftermath of the raids, the courts have officially charged Barcelona with “active bribery.” A court document states that the club has been paying Negreira for information on referees for a staggering 18 years. It highlights that payments were made through intermediary companies to one of the vice-presidents of the Technical Committee of Referees within the RFEF, revealing an undisputed fact.

Negreira was considered a public official for criminal purposes due to his role as vice-president of the committee, which involved responsibilities related to referee qualifications, promotions, and demotions.

Barcelona manager Xavi - Barca charged with bribery

Barcelona manager Xavi has opted not to speak in the case after Barcelona was charged with active bribery in the ongoing Ngereira case. | PHOTO: Goal |

The payments by Barcelona to Negreira and his son were substantial, starting at €70,000 annually and increasing to €700,000 annually over the years. Barcelona ceased payments when Negreira stepped down from his role as vice-president. The court document implies that these payments were made to serve Barcelona’s interests and suggests that they may have influenced referee decisions in favor of the club, potentially creating an unequal playing field with other teams.

READ: Why Ilkay Gundogan left Manchester City for Barcelona

Furthermore, the case took another twist when Negreira, after being dismissed as vice-president in mid-2018, sent an intimidating letter to the former president of Barcelona B. In the letter, he insinuated that if the payments were not continued, he would reveal information that could seriously damage the club. This implies Negreira’s awareness of potentially serious illicit acts committed in favor of Barcelona.

In response to the charges, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez remained cautious, refraining from commenting extensively on the ongoing investigation. Moreover, he focused his attention on the team’s performance and upcoming matches, emphasizing the need to address their on-field challenges.

The charges of “active bribery” against Barcelona are a significant development in the Negreira case, which has cast a shadow over the club’s reputation. As the legal proceedings unfold, the football world will closely monitor the impact of these allegations on one of the world’s most prominent football clubs.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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