Explained: Why Referee Payments Made by Barcelona Were in ‘Self-Defence’

Explained: Why Referee Payments Made by Barcelona Were in ‘Self-Defence’

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
March 14, 2023 at 8:32 AM
  • 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.

Josep Maria Bartomeu, Sandro Rosell, referee, payments
Former Barcelona chiefs, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu have defended the club's decision to make payments to referees. Photo credit: @elchiringuitotv @LigActu
Source: Twitter

Negreira, the second-in-command of the La Liga refereeing body, allegedly received payments from the Catalan giants between 2001 to 2018, per FTB.

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

Amid the ongoing scandal, Sports Brief also reported on a clip of former Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho suggesting Barca's successes were aided by biased referees.

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.
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Editor- La Liga I Bundesliga I French Ligue
La LigaWorld