Barcelona president Juan Laporta has been highly critical of the Spanish League over allegations that the Barcelona administration was paying a financial bribe to a company owned by Enriques Negrera, the former deputy chairman of the refereeing committee.
And the Spanish prosecutor’s office has previously officially condemned the existence of huge amounts of money paid by Barça to the former deputy chairman of the arbitration committee, José Negrera, in order to obtain arbitration awards in favor of the blaugrana.
Laporta spoke during a press conference where he presented some of the documents, saying, “We came to the following conclusion: there was no evidence related to payments to anyone for the purpose of manipulating the results or any economic corruption.”
He continued by emphasizing, “There are 629 documents and 43 discs relating to documents related to our payments. Many of them were destroyed after becoming obsolete. I assure you, we must let justice do its thing, and we have hired an independent company to investigate the case. Barcelona has nothing to do with any suspicious activity.”
He realized, “Seeking advice on technical arbitration is not illegal in any way. All the big clubs do it, for us it was implemented in a transparent way, with bills, at least in my first phase as president.
On the president of La Liga: “Javier Tebas is an irresponsible person. He lacks professionalism, it shows. He stirred up controversy so constantly that he even sent out false documents.”
He said: “I thank the President of the Spanish Federation Rubiales and the President of FIFA Infantino for not joining the campaign against Barcelona. They are waiting for the court’s decision.”
Laporta attacks La Liga over Barcelona accusations in Negrera case
Tebbas attacked: “Some people took advantage of their position, for example, the president of the Spanish League. Tebas irresponsibly submitted the wrong documents. He slandered the competition, Barcelona was punished without any evidence of his guilt. Here we risk the reputation of the club, the reputation of the referees and the reputation of football.”
And the president of the Catalan club continued: “The advice we asked for regarding arbitration is very legal and there is no suspicion of it.”
And he stressed: “In general, Barcelona did not engage in corruption. And all the transactions we made are legal and subject to tax audit based on correct financial transactions. We are far from any suspicion of corruption.”
He asked: “The campaign started at the same time that we refused to join the CVC campaign. Coincidence, isn’t it?”
And he continued: “The former chairman of the refereeing committee did not have the opportunity to make football decisions or correct sports results.”
Regarding his rationale for the seven million that were paid to the arbitrage company, he replied: “These amounts were not paid immediately. Actually, over 18 years old. This is for reports of people doing very important work (arbitrators).”
And he added: “Payment processes have increased recently because there are more arbitrage reports. It’s just because football competitions have gotten stronger and tougher.”
And he added: “The former head of the refereeing committee did not have the opportunity to make football decisions or correct sports results.”
And Laporta continued: “Negrera had no power over the judges, and he had no authority to do so. This has been confirmed by a number of judges who have spoken out on the matter.”
He added: “When we discovered the opportunity to make these reports, we requested them because we are always striving for more quality in our work. And we saw that it is beneficial.”
And he added: “Ibn Negrera worked with the Spanish Federation, with the League, with Luis Aragones. It is illogical to hold Barcelona responsible only for the nature of the work that brought us together.”
And he continued: “No one from the club told Negrera that they are paying money to achieve the neutrality of the referee. This is his personal opinion, which he said during his testimony to the IRS. The payment was for technical reports.
“Page 17 of the IRS report states that Negrera’s commitment to impartial arbitration is his personal assumption,” he said.
He explained, “We have to remember that all these activities happened to the son of Negrera, not to the father.”
He emphasized: “I noticed that you repeat questions. I repeat, that 7 million that we have paid for 18 years for technical reports, and we know that all clubs do the same. And the prices go up over the years.”
And Laporta concluded: “The president of the association, Tebas, did an irresponsible act and tried to destroy the reputation of FC Barcelona. And he makes a number of irresponsible statements. He says, for example, that it is not possible to request such technical reports, which is wrong.”