Prosecutor’s Office confirm that Barça paid Negreira €7.3 million
The Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on Friday that Barça paid Negreira €7.3M, an amount received by the former CTA vice-president from 2001 to 2018, the year in which the relationship with the club was interrupted.
The Prosecutor’s report before Barcelona’s General Court of Justice No.1 details all the payments made by Barça to companies registered to José María Enríquez Negreira - payments which amounted, in the 17 years that the relationship lasted (from 2001 to 2018), to 7.3 million euros.
Between January 2011 and January 2014, with Sandro Rosell as president, payments exceeded two million euros. Between January 2014 and December 2015, they reached 1,286,530.19 euros. Between 2016 and 2018, Enríquez received 1,685,142.83 euros.
The total sum of what was received by the defendant in the period investigated in the proceedings amounted to 2,971,673.01 euros.
The Public Prosecutor formalized it’s complaint on Friday. It accuses the club and also former presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu for a continuous crime of corruption in business, sports fraud, unfair administration and, finally, false commercial documents. Two former club executives Albert Soler and Óscar Grau are also accused.
According to the accusations, Barcelona, via ex-presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep María Bartomeu, reached “a strictly confidential agreement” with Enríquez Negreira “taking advantage of his position as vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), he would make favourable deals with the club in exchange for money with the intention of influencing referees’ decision-making and, in this way, the club’s sporting results”. The CTA is in charge with delegating match officials for each game in all of the official matches in the Spanish league as well as determining which referees ascend or descend a category, and proposing candidates for international refereeing posts.
According to Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia, the criminal code states that, extreme cases of corruption could be punished by relegation to a lower division or even the entity being dissolved. For that to happen, the prosecution would need to prove that the club paid Negreira continually (from 2001 to 2018) with the intention of altering the competition.
Then there is the question of how the case could be viewed by UEFA and what action they would take against Barcelona if the club is found guilty of match-fixing. Article 12 of UEFA’s disciplinary regulations specifically state that, “All persons bound by UEFA’s rules and regulations must refrain from any behaviour that damages or could damage the integrity of matches and competitions and must cooperate fully with UEFA at all times in its efforts to combat such behaviour”. UEFA readily assists member associations and state authorities who request assistance with their own investigations and related sporting or criminal proceedings.