Madrid: FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta went on the attack on Tuesday over the ongoing scandal regarding payments to former referee and Vice-President of the Spanish Referees Technical Committee, Jose Maria Negreira.
It has been revealed that Barca paid around seven million euros to Negreira for ‘technical reports’ until 2018, raising questions over whether the club received favorable refereeing decisions over that time.
The Spanish press on Tuesday informed that the Spanish Anti-Corruption Prosecutor is now pressing for criminal charges to be presented, but Laporta, who has been President since 2021 and who was also in charge between 2003-2010, not only insisted that FC Barcelona was innocent of any incorrect behavior but also implied the allegations were aimed at destabilizing the club.
“Barca has never bought referees, and Barca has never had the intention of buying referees, and the strength of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story,” said Laporta
Barcelona lead La Liga by nine points over Real Madrid and Laporta insisted that “we are doing well again: nothing is accidental. There is a campaign to harm the interests of Barca,” he said.
The Barca president focused on the fact that Barca are one of just three clubs, along with Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Madrid, that didn’t sign an agreement with investment fund CVC which was promoted by La Liga President Javier Tebas.
“It is a campaign aimed at controlling the club. La Liga does not accept that Barca did not sign the contract with CVC”.
“Those who have an interest in controlling Barca are La Liga and CVC. I think it goes here,” he said, pointing out that along with Athletic and Real Madrid, Barca is owned by its fans rather than shareholders.
“They want to scare us financially to end up being a Public Limited Company. I can see what they are doing, but they are not telling the truth,” Laporta insisted.