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Barcelona charged with bribery in referee payments corruption case | Football News

European football giants Barcelona were charged with an alleged bribery for payments, reportedly 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, who has previously been a referee in Spanish top flight league. A report published by Forbes claimed that the payments were made from 2001 to 2018. The payments were reportedly made during Negreira’s tenure as the vice-president of the refereeing committee. It has been learnt that these latest developments can even result in Barcelona’s suspension from the Champions League. As per a Marca report no arrests have been planned according to the police sources.

Image used for representational purpose(Getty Images)
Image used for representational purpose(Getty Images)

Former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell have also been accused of the same charges. Rosell was the president of the Catalan giants from 2010 to 2014. Bartomeu took charge of the side after Rosell’s stint came to an end. Bartomeu resigned from the position in 2020. Following the resignation, Joan Laporta, the current Barcelona president, was elected as Bartomeu’s replacement in 2021. Laporta, however, has rejected any kind of wrongdoing as he previously claimed that the payments were for “technical reports on refereeing”.

Spanish police also raided the offices of the refereeing committee at the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) located in Madrid on Thursday for documentation. The raid was understood to have been conducted in relation to the case.

“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.

Barcelona head coach Xavi shared his opinion on the latest charges 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 Spaniard said.

Meanwhile, Barcelona stated that the 2022-23 financial year ended with a net profit of 304 million euros after taxes. The club also announced annual revenue of more than €1 billion on a consolidated level during the 2022-23 campaign.

Coming back to on-field developments, Barcelona are currently placed in third position in the La Liga standings. The Camp Nou-based side have remained unbeaten so far in the domestic league having played seven games. In their next fixture, Xavi’s men will be up against Sevilla tonight.

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