In a press conference defending his club in its referee payment scandal, Barcelona president Joan Laporta picked a new target, Real Madrid. Laporta said Los Blancos are historic favorites when it comes to refereeing decisions. Moreover, Laporta claimed Real Madrid are only pushing for action against Barcelona to weaken the Blaugrana’s standing in the league. Right now, Barcelona maintains a lead in the LaLiga table. However, potential fines and punishments would massively hamper an already-weak Barcelona situation.

In his press conference Monday, Laporta alluded to the fact that Real Madrid is a club aligned with the priorities of Spain, both financially and politically. Meanwhile, Barcelona, located in Catalonia, has always been something of an outcast in Spain. Barcelona openly supported Catalonia’s push for independence from Spain. For example, it donned Catalan flags on kits against Real Madrid and closed the stadium during protests of independence.

Laporta called Real Madrid the ‘team of the regime,’ as it is so closely in line with Spain.

“I want to refer to the presence of a club, on its own, as a private accusation in the trial. A club that says it feels harmed. A club that has always been favored by refereeing decisions. It has been considered the team of the regime. Because of their proximity to political and economic power,” Laporta said during his press conference.

Laporta says Real Madrid is damaging the image of Barcelona

While Real Madrid and LaLiga want to eradicate the alleged illegal practices of Barcelona, the Catalan club says the payments it made are nothing out of the ordinary. For example, during the press conference, Laporta repeated that the payments to Negreira’s firm were strictly for technical reports on referees. Then, the Spaniard brandishes one of those technical reports during the press conference.

In total, Laporta confirmed that the club paid around $7.8 million to Negreira’s firm. However, Laporta displayed two key differences. For one, the money went to Negreira’s son, who had no say over referee implications. Also, the money involved was spread out over 17 years. Therefore, Laporta said it was not a huge sum of money.

However, Laporta was quick to defend the club’s reputation. Multiple reports show Laporta has already filed defamation lawsuits against a number of journalists.