According to reports in Spain, FC Barcelona paid €1.4 million between 2016 and 2018 to a business run by a former La Liga official.
This has been called a “bombshell report,” according to Colin Millar of The Mirror. Jose Marquez Enrquez Negreira, the official in question, was once the deputy president of Spain’s Technical Committee of Referees.
The Spanish news source Cadena Ser is where the initial report originates from. According to their headline, the Prosecutor’s Office is looking into the firm of a former vice president of referees who was compensated by Barça for assistance while in office.
Negreira was vice president for around 24 years, between 1994 and 2018. His company – DASNIL 95 SL – is being ‘investigated’ by Barcelona’s Prosecutor’s Office for ‘corruption between individuals.’
What do reports say?
The sums were 318,200 euros in 2018, 532,728.02 euros in 2016, and 541,752 euros in 2017. Barcelona paid the final bill in June 2018, which also happened to be the same month that Negreira left the committee and the CTA was formed.
The reports existed at least by 2003, when he joined the club, and they were constantly paid until 2018, according to the previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu (2014–2020), who claims that the payments were stopped due to a policy of saving expenses.
‘Sources from Sandro Rosell’s board of directors also support this version. [Joan] Gaspart (president between 2000 and 2003) assures that he is not aware of it, and Joan Laporta (current president) has declined to comment on it.’
Negreira “did not submit any documentation demonstrating that he delivered a service to the FCB,” the report continues. According to the former official, “there is no paperwork because his job consisted of orally instructing the Barça club on how the players should behave in front of each referee, among other matters.”
Negreira, his son (the administrator of DASNIL 95 SL), and former representatives of Barcelona have all “testified before the Prosecutor’s Office.” After an “extension was granted” in October 2022, the probe is still proceeding.
Negreira allegedly told Cadena Ser that “his work consisted of verbally advising Barcelona” and that “he never preferred Barcelona in any decision or arbitration appointment.”
Bombshell report reveals Barcelona paid a company owned by José María Enríquez Negreira €1.4m from 2016-2018.
At the time, he was a La Liga referee and vice president of Spain's Technical Committee of Referees.
None of the payments were invoiced. https://t.co/87DZ01vhv5
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) February 15, 2023
Barcelona’s official statement
Barcelona issued an official statement on the matter as well, which read: “FC Barcelona hired in the past the services of an external technical consultant, who supplied, in video format, technical reports referring to players in lower categories of the Spanish State for the Club’s technical secretariat.”
“Additionally, the relationship with the same external supplier was extended with technical reports related to professional refereeing to complement information required by the coaching staff of the first team and the subsidiary, a common practice in professional football clubs.”
Barcelona expressed regret that the dispute had arisen when the team was experiencing its best phase on the field and promised legal action if the club’s reputation had been harmed.
Barcelona President Laporta: It’s no coincidence that this report comes out now
Joan Laporta, the president, has since added his voice to the discussion, saying: “Culés, it’s no coincidence that this information surfaces now while Barça is succeeding. We reserve the right to take legal action to uphold FC Barcelona’s honour.”
“Barça has previously recruited an outside consultant, a service often used by other Spanish teams, to get reports on players from lower divisions and provide officiating suggestions.”
“Arbitration guidance is available today. The announcement’s timing is not a coincidence, as it is unexpected. It has already been smoothly incorporated into the club’s organisational framework for the football division.”