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FC Barcelona is involved in a referee affair. © AFP / PAU BARRENA

Barça affair: Police search the Spanish association

In the affair involving millions paid by FC Barcelona to a referee official, the Spanish police searched the premises of the national football association RFEF.

On the orders of investigating judge Joaquin Aguirre, officials visited the offices of the association's referee committee in Madrid on Thursday, the state television station reported RTVE and other media citing the judiciary. A spokesman for the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) police unit confirmed this information upon request. No arrests are planned, it said.

The investigation began in March after a complaint from the public prosecutor's office. Between 2001 and 2018, the Catalan club transferred a good 7,3 million euros to the then deputy head of the CTA referee committee, José María Enríquez Negreira. Investigators suspect that these payments were intended to favor Barça in the referees' decision-making.

Serious allegations

The complaint was directed against Enríquez Negreira and the club as well as its former presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu as well as other ex-Barça officials. Both club representatives and Enríquez Negreira admitted the business connections, but at the same time rejected the accusation of corruption. Barça's current club president Joan Laporta said the club had engaged consultant services. But that was “very normal in football at the big clubs,” he asserted.

Journalists wait in front of the headquarters of the Spanish Football Association. © AFP / JAVIER SORIANO

Enríquez Negreira was a referee in Spain's first division between 1977 and 1992 and then vice-president of the CTA between 1994 and 2018. The 78-year-old assured in interviews that as CTA vice-president he did not give FC Barcelona preferential treatment in any decision or referee appointment. His company Dasniel 95 SL gave the club verbal advice, for example how the players should behave depending on the referee.

Schlagwörter: Soccer Spain FC Barcelona


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