Xavi disheartened by chants calling for Barcelona to be relegated amid refereeing scandalFootball
Explained: Why Referee Payments Made by Barcelona Were in ‘Self-Defence’
- Two of Barcelona's former presidents have maintained the club's innocence amid the latest scandal
- The Catalans have been slapped with corruption charges over alleged payments to a refereeing chief
- There are accusations that Barcelona gained advantages on the pitch through these alleged payments
Former Barcelona presidents, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell have reportedly justified payments made to former Spanish refereeing chief, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
Barca have been accused of making payments for a period of 17 years to Negreira, who was La Liga’s vice-president of the Technical Committee for Referees between 1994 and 2018.
In their defence, the club insisted the payments made to the official were to obtain scouting reports on referees in the league and were completely legal.
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Explaining the rationale behind the payments, ex-presidents, Bartomeu and Rosell were convinced La Liga referees favoured Real Madrid, so they wanted to make things 'more neutral'.
"The payments [to Negreira] were carried out in self-defence," said Bartomeu, Rosell, and other former Barcelona directors, as quoted by Tribuna.
Laporta addresses referee scandal
Meanwhile, current Barcelona president, Joan Laporta has broken his silence amid the corruption scandal which has rocked the Catalan giants.
La Blaugrana have been charged with 'continued sporting corruption' in regard to payments made to a former refereeing vice-president, Negreira.
Despite the charges and Madrid's decision to take legal action over 'serious accusations' by prosecutors, Laporta insisted his club is innocent.
Mourinho hints at biased refereeing
Inaki Williams aims jibe at Barcelona after another controversial refereeing decisionFootball
The video shows the fire-brand Portuguese tactician pointing out 'controversial calls' that helped the Catalans in the UEFA Champions League between 2008 and 2011.
"Why didn't the referee call four clear penalties for Chelsea? Why were Motta and Van Persie sent off? Why? Where does this power come from?" he exclaimed.