president of BarcelonaJoan Laporta presented this Monday (17) a report drawn up by an independent office to refute the points of the complaint accepted by the Spanish justice, which inquired into accusations of corruption involving referees.
Spanish prosecutors filed a complaint against the Catalan club in early March following the Disclosure of payments in the order of 7 million euros made between 2001 and 2018 to José Maria Enriquez Negreiraformer vice-president of the arbitration committee.
Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, former Barcelona presidents, Oscar Grau and Alber Soler, the club’s former managers, who have also been reported as defendants in the case. All of these accused are bribery in sport, bribery in business, false administration and falsification of business records.
“I have information that I did not have before. I’ll start with this blunt statement: Barcelona have not taken any action with the ultimate aim or intention of changing the competition to gain an advantage,” said Laporta.
“Another question will be decided by the court. There are individuals and private entities outside the club, which is essential. Some people may have taken advantage of this background to indulge in irregular components for their own benefit. If so, Barcelona are defending the honor of the club. We want it to be studied to the end. Barcelona would be a victim of this situation”.
“Barcelona would be a victim and not responsible for any crime. It is important to declare. At the be of the Parquet, it also seems that they are working in this direction. The club would be a victim. Since 2016, Barcelona has had a Compliance department. What I believe is that these professionals have done their job. The department searches for possible components that are irregular as an entity. During my presidency, we have strengthened this area along the lines defined by the most recent case law”.
After an initial presentation, Laporta presented parts of the preliminary report prepared by an independent office.
« According to the facts analysed, no conduct having a penal relevance linked to the crime of sports corruption has been identified, neither indications of assignment to the fair play of the competition, nor criteria given to study the penal modalities linked to corruption,” said Joan Laporta. this Monday. fair.
“As regards the payment made to companies and individuals surveyed, these are common sports consultancy services in the professional sports sector. The existence of evidence of the provision of services, their approval and their evaluation according to the criteria of the sports field. There is documentation of facts and payments, subject to documentary approval and receipt of delivery”.
“There is a documented service. This documentation gives rise to the elaboration of some detailed facts, paid by the club to the companies that provided this service. These facts are recorded and have been subject to the corresponding tax audits. They have been accredited and audited by companies such as KPMG”.
“The amount varies according to the number of analysis offers. The consideration should be agreed annually and invoiced monthly with variances”.
Joan Laporta claimed the payments were for « technical referee reports » and denied the club had « purchased referees or influence ».
However, in the indictment presented, the prosecutors accused Rosell and Bartomeu of having reached an agreement with Negreira in which « he would carry out actions aimed at favoring Barcelona in the decision-making of the referees during the matches played by the club and, consequently, in the results of the competition ».
Course collision with the president of LaLiga
Negreira’s affair has escalated between Barcelona’s relationship with league president Javier Tebas. The manager has encouraged the Catalan club’s harsh criticism since the complaint was accepted by the Spanish courts.
In response, Barca even demanded the director’s resignation after the newspaper the vanguard Publish a report in which he accuses Tebas of having sent a document containing « false evidence » to the Spanish public prosecutor’s office on the involvement of two ex-presidents (Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell) in the scandal of the “Negreira affair”.
« It’s an exercise in hypocrisy and lack of professionalism, » Laporta said of the leader’s conduct since the matter came to light. “A president of LaLiga is not within his duties to act as he acts. He participated in a public lynching without being tried. It seems inappropriate to me. »
« If I talk about Tebas it’s because as president he behaves irresponsibly. He tries to damage Barcelona’s reputation. It’s a series of constant actions that refer false assumptions. Tebas took it upon himself to add fuel to the fire and tried to add UEFA to this lynching ».
« At first he [Aleksander Ceferin, presidente da Uefa] makes statements, but now acts responsibly. He didn’t fall into the trap of Tebas,” said Laporta, who is not exclusive of legal action against the LaLiga president.
« Our legal department has already acted against people who have damaged the reputation of the club. Whenever someone goes too far and interprets it in a biased way, we are obliged to defend the reputation and the honor of Barcelona. We reserve our actions to the instigators. Lawyers are already calculating amounts which can be astronomical. To take such a serious step lightly… As a member of the board of directors, we will not allow anyone to try to smear or insult our club.
Barcelona’s next matches:
Atlético Madrid (C) – 04/23, 11:15 a.m. – LaLiga
Vallecano Ray (F) – 26/04, at 5 p.m. – LaLiga
Real Betis (B) – 29/04, at 4 p.m. – LaLiga