Barcelona President Joan Laporta has strongly denied that the club have paid to influence referees in the past, despite the revelations from El Caso Negreira.
During a tax investigation into Enriquez Negreira, former Vice-President of the Refeerees Commitee, it was found that Barcelona had been paying him for a period of 17 years, with the total fee rising to €6.7m.
Those fees were reportedly for reports on how referees behaved and scouting reports, but as many have pointed out, the reason for such high fees is far from clear.
Speaking at a luncheon with Mundo Deportivo Editor Santi Nolla, Laporta strenuously denied those claims.
“We have prepared a press conference to talk about this topic, but today I had this lunch. Let it be clear that Barca have never bought referees nor had the intention to buy referees. Absolutely never. The forcefulness of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story. We are doing well again, nothing is accidental.”
He has promised that all will be explained in the press conference, as was the case last week. However there remains little certainty on the matter until that explanation comes out – provided it is a sufficient one. Laporta’s final words are an allusion to La Liga President Javier Tebas, who he feels has a campaign against Barcelona.