Former Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has placed his faith in Barcelona over the allegations of corruption levelled against the club. The Blaugrana have been found to have paid Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira over a period of 17 years a total of €7m, while he was Vice-President of the Referees Committee (CTA).
Speaking to RAC1, in an interview carried by Marca, Pique claimed that he personally had no knowledge of the matter, nor of the scouting reports on referees that Negreira was supposedly providing.
“I didn’t know anything. This is more for the coach and technical staff. The players already know the referees, the coaches may come from abroad and may need help. I don’t know if the job was to be an assistant… We were not involved and we had no knowledge [of it]. I have not met him or his son.”
“I don’t think Barca have bought the referees, I would put my neck on the line [for my club].”
For Pique, none of it made sense. In his mind, paying the VP of the CTA was a silly way to go about bribing officials if they were going to do so.
“You go with dirty money and that’s it, things are simpler than going to the vice president of the CTA and pay him a salary. It doesn’t make sense. The conspiracies and campaigns… we’re used to it.”
That said it would not be the first time a Barcelona board has struggled to come to the sensible decision. Pique would go on to defend the titles won during that period were legitimate, and there was no reason to doubt that.