HomeFootball NewsBarcelona's Bribery Investigation Intensifies

Barcelona’s Bribery Investigation Intensifies

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Agencia EFE, the world’s fourth largest wire service after the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse, have reported that Barcelona have been charged with suspected bribery payments worth over £6 million.

The ‘Negreira case’ refers to accusations that Barcelona bribed the former vice president of the Spanish refereeing committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, during the time in which Sandro Rosell, Joan Laporta in his first term and then Josep Maria Bartomeu were the club presidents.

The case first became publicly known in March 2023 when a Spanish court accepted a complaint lodged against the club by prosecutors. EFE have also reported that the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) had their Madrid offices searched on Thursday morning.

Between 2001 and 2018, Barcelona paid companies of the aforementioned Negreira around 7 million euros. Laporta, a former member of the Catalan Parliament who won re-election as club president back in 2021, has denied the club ‘bought referees’ and said that the payments made to Negreira were for ‘technical reports about referees’.

Investigating judge, Joaquin Aguirre Lopez, said earlier this month that Barcelona may have benefitted from ‘possible systemic corruption’.

Barcelona won La Liga last season for the first time in four years, having seen Atletico Madrid become champions in 2021 and Real Madrid win the title in 2020 and 2022.

Under the management of former midfielder and captain, Xavi Hernandez, the Blaugrana are seeking to make it back-to-back title wins amidst further financial confusion and uncertainty with the club.

Many different avenues have been explored for raising money have been required to meet the league’s financial rules with new signings such as Inigo Martinez, who had joined on a free transfer in late June, not being able to be registered as a Barcelona player until the final day of the recent summer transfer window.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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