It seems like every day there’s a difference story about the Bartomeu era and how the club reached this point. Yesterday, once again, it was reported that Bartomeu and the board used to pay journalists to cover them in a positive way. Today, we all heard about the new Barça scandal.
According to the newspaper AS and the programme Que t’hi jugues on Cadena Ser, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former Catalan referee, received 1,392,680 euros from Barça for at least three years (from 2016 to 2018). Furthermore, he did it through the company DASNIL 95 SL and for giving ‘advice’.
"Barcelona like the player" - Fabrizio Romano confirms Chelsea attacker will definitely leave the club this summer. READ MORE
According to the same report, the justice system is investigating this fact for an alleged crime of ‘corruption between private individuals’ and has been working on the matter for a long time. The former official was the sole partner of the company, which in 2016 billed Barça 532,728, euros; in 2017, 541,752 euros; and in 2018, 318,200, all during the mandate of Josep Maria Bartomeu. The billing reason was “technical advice”. In the tax agency’s report, “FCB wanted to make sure that arbitration decisions weren’t going to go against them.”
Albert Soler, the club’s former director of professional sports, and Òscar Grau, the former CEO of the Blaugrana club, have already testified in the case. However, the tax agency says no document has been provided that accredits such a commercial relationship, but that at the time they were declared and tried to deduct, which put the same tax agency on alert, ending up carrying out a tax inspection in which it discovered the payments.
The club responded quickly
FC Barcelona responded to the information from with a statement in which they gave their version of events. Barça explained that they contracted “in the past the services of an external technical consultant. They provided, in video format, technical reports on youth players in Spain for the club’s technical staff”. However, “this type of outsourced service is provided by a professional assigned to the football department”.
FC Barcelona also expressed its annoyance because “it regrets that this information appears precisely at the best sporting moment of the current season”.
Finally, as per SPORT, it announced that it “will take legal action against anyone who spoils the club’s image with possible insinuations contrary to the reputation of the entity that may arise as a result of this information”.
Taking things in perspective
Should we feel worried? Is it even a “scandal” that can jeopardize Barça as a club? It’s highly unlikely. Although in Madrid they tried to make a connection between the payments and ref decisions, there’s not even an investigation for that. The only reason that they even investigate this money is because of the taxes that should be paid for that amount by the company that received the money.
In the years 2016-2018 Barça literally lost the league due to bad decisions by referees, against them. And although with Bartomeu I can believe in any shady deal possible, paying millions to refs only for them to decide against you seems very unlikely.
Twitter page “Zona Blaugrana” tweeted about the 10 points that “referees robbed from Barcelona”:
The police questioned Bartomeu himself about that money as part of the investigation for “Barça Gate” scandal. However, the former president said that it’s a very common thing to get a report on referees. The owner of the company that made these reports is Negreira’s son. Bartomeu said that the club didn’t know that Negreira himself had an affiliation with the company. Should we believe this part? Probably not.
However, Barcelona are not the only club to pay for these reports. Many clubs are doing that for years, and Barcelona actually stopped paying for these external reports in 2018. Even Madrid did that for years with former referees.
And this evening, the same AS report that there will be no consequences in this ‘case’.
Leave a Reply