Spanish football is at the gates of a serious scandal, which involves Barcelona and which some speculate could lead to its relegation: a group of Spanish prosecutors are investigating payments of around 1.4 million euros that the Catalan club carried out ago three years to a company owned by a senior member of the Spanish arbitration body. Through a statement, Barcelona confirmed the information that a radio station had advanced and that caused the reaction of the Catalan entity.
On Wednesday, during one of its sports programs, Cadena SER reported that Barcelona had made the payments between 2016 and 2018 to a company owned by José María Enríquez Negreira, who was at that time vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees of the Spanish Federation of Soccer.
Barcelona confirmed through the statement that it was aware of the investigation. He indicated that the club “hired the services of an external technical consultant” who provided him with “technical reports related to professional refereeing”, calling it “common practice in professional football clubs”. The entity said that the consultancy also perfected, in video format, reports on youth players from other Spanish clubs.
Parallel to the official information from the club, the former president of the institution Josep María Bartomeu told the Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo that the payments date back to before 2003 and totaled 575,000 euros per year since the 2009/2010 season before they stopped. in 2018 as part of cost reduction measures. When asked about these statements, Barcelona did not offer any further comments, referring to its original statement.
The Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) tried to disassociate itself from responsibility. The agency stated that Enríquez Negreira had no official role since 2018 and that “no active arbitrator or member of the CTA bodies can carry out any work that is likely to enter into a conflict of interest.”
According to information published by different Spanish media, prosecutors began the investigation in 2022 after an inspection by the Tax Agency of a company owned by Enríquez Negreira, did not find any records or services provided to Barcelona in exchange for 1.4 million euros. euros in payments
Cadena SER collected Negreira’s comments in which he stated that his advice was verbal and that the players interfered with the referees and denied having ever favored Barcelona in any arbitration decision or dispute.
In a newspaper report The confidential published this Thursday, it is stated that Enríquez Negreira pocketed more than 4.7 million euros through his company DASNIL 95 SL (in which he was the only member) and that at least between 2016 and 2018, more than 95% of the turnover of the company came exclusively from the Catalan club.