Spanish police are continuing their investigation into the suspected corruption case against Barcelona. The Catalan club, and two of its previous presidents, faced charges of corruption for alleged payments to a former LaLiga referee. Barca has completely denied the allegations and insisted that the payments were for referee reports.
Nevertheless, a Barcelona court document released on Wednesday revealed that the club also faces bribery charges. The new charge may end up seeing Barca face a more serious punishment. That requires the case to go to court. There, a jury can determine the legality of the issue.
Police raid referee offices as judge looks for documents against Barcelona
Spanish officials also searched the Spanish Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) offices on Thursday. BBC reports that the judge in charge of the case demanded certain documents from the CTA. He did not receive those. As a result, the judge ordered the Spanish Civil Guard to raid their offices to help obtain the necessary documentation.
Allegations state Barcelona paid around $7.8 million in payments to former referee chief Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira and his company. Most of this money was allegedly given to Negreira between 2001 and 2018. However, Negreira’s company also supposedly received over $1 million from 2016 to 2018.
Xavi denies the club did anything wrong
Current Barca head coach Xavi fielded questions about the issue during a press conference on Thursday. The former star midfielder doubled down on his team’s insistence of innocence. “You know my opinion,” Xavi told reporters. “I have never had the feeling that the club have benefitted from refereeing. Never.”
“I don’t have time to reflect on much more than that. I’m focused on sporting issues. Next week there will be another Negreira story, in 15 days another, and then more a month.”
UEFA previously ruled that Barca can participate in the current 2023/24 Champions League campaign while the investigation continues. The Spanish side smashed Antwerp 5-0 in its first group-stage match of the competition in mid-September. Barca is next set to face Sevilla in league play on Friday, Sep. 29.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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