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BREAKING | Barcelona charged with corruption

Spanish giants Barcelona have been officially charged with corruption. The global footballing juggernaut came under the eye of the law after evidence surfaced detailing payments to former La Liga referee José María Enríquez Negreira. In addition, former club presidents Jose Maria Bertomeu and Sandro Rosell were also charged.

Reports dating back to February first eluded to the possibility that the club could face harsh penalties, including relegation from the top flight of Spanish football, if they were found guilty of dispatching payments of €1.4m to Negreira between 2016-18.

Further evidence has come to light that the Barça actually made payments of €7.3m between 2001-18 to Negreira, who was not only a former La Liga referee but also vice president of Spain’s Technical Committee of Referees. Said payments were apparently dispatched to allow the club to receive preferential treatment, which included the hiring of certain referees as well as benefitting from refereeing decisions during La Liga matches.

El Pais had previously reported: “the investigation began last year as a result of a Treasury inspection of the Dasnil company, owned by the former arbitrator, and aims to find out what motivated that disbursement. The payments analyzed occurred during the tenure of Josep Maria Bartomeu as president of Barça, although according to the sources consulted they date back to the last two decades. Barça has admitted, in a statement, that it commissioned “technical reports related to professional arbitration”. Enríquez Negreira has also acknowledged that he advised the club on the referees that he was going to find in each game.”

“The payments were made by “various boards of directors” of the Barça club from the stage of Joan Gaspart (2000-2003), passing through those of Joan Laporta, Sandro Rosell, and Josep Maria Bartomeu, according to sources familiar with the investigation, which was extended to last November. The prosecutor in the case, who has already taken a statement from some of those involved, must decide if she sees signs of a crime of corruption between individuals —both Barça and the Committee are private entities— and file a complaint in court or, on the contrary, Archive the investigation. The same sources indicate that, if the reality of the work carried out by Enríquez Negreira is not proven, the oldest payments would no longer constitute a crime because they would have been prescribed.”

This is a developing breaking news story. Stay tuned for further updates.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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