Barcelona investors could pull out of Camp Nou redevelopment over Negreira refereeing scandal
Renovation work at Camp Nou is well underway but is there a danger Barça may have to put it on hold?
Barcelona’s involvement in the Negreira refereeing scandal could affect their redevelopment of Camp Nou, part of the Espai Barça project. According to Spanish digital newspaper El Debate, the investment groups funding the €1.5 billion ($1.61 billion) facelift, which include Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, have asked for a report on the case so that they can carry out a risk assessment, the main focus of which would be whether Barça would be able to pay back the agreed loans if they were to suffer some kind of punishment.
Barcelona’s “systemic corrpution” in Negreira case
This revelation comes on the back of a ruling made last week by Judge Joaquín Aguirre, which stated that the LaLiga giants had been involved in “possible systemic corruption” and would continue to be investigated. Earlier this year, it was discovered that Barcelona had paid the former vice president of the Spanish referees committee, José María Enríquez Negreira, over €7 million ($7.51 million) between 2001 and 2018, for “referee reports”.
El Debate claim the move is being driven by one of the American banks involved in the loaning of money to La Blaugrana, at the request of one of the investors. In addition to any possible punishment handed down as a result of the case, Barcelona’s financial issues in recent years have been well documented, with the club forced to cancel their in-house television channel and scrap a taxi service for academy players, among many other things.
Investors can pull out of Barça agreement
Once the report has been handed over to the investors, they will decide whether or not they will continue funding the project. El Debate have revealed that the document which outlines the loan terms agreed between Barça and the investors contains a number of references to “the refereeing situation”, which can only be the Negreira scandal.
If the club are found to be guilty of a criminal offence, the terms of the agreement mean the investors have the option of backing out of the project and being paid back the money they have loaned so far.