5:08 PM GMT
Adriana Garcia and Moises Llorens
Former Barcelona main Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed to ESPN that ex-Spanish refereeing committee (CTA) vice president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira tried to extort money from the Catalan nine successful 2018 aft it stopped making payments to his company.
Enriquez Negreira is being investigated by the Spanish prosecutor's bureau for receiving astatine slightest €1.6 cardinal from Barca betwixt 2016 and 2018 for consultancy work.
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Barca stopped making payments to Enriquez Negreira's part-owned institution DASNIL 95 SL aft June 2018 erstwhile Negreira was nary longer vice president of the CTA.
Enriquez Negreira sent a registered missive to Bartomeu, published successful El Mundo newspaper, successful which helium threatened to uncover alleged irregularities of the nine unless their concern resumed.
"When we chopped disconnected the relationship, aft a fewer days, I received Enriquez Negreira's burofax, of which contempt the threats, we ne'er heard from him again," Bartomeu told ESPN.
"He sent america the missive successful mid-2018 and until today, I ever thought that this a useless document, that nary substance however overmuch helium scratched, helium would ne'er get thing retired [of it]."
Bartomeu confirmed that Barcelona contracted Enriquez Negreira's company, among different things, was for "technical reports related to nonrecreational refereeing" and that specified signifier was commonplace successful football.
There person been accusations that Barca gained advantages connected the pitch, yet Bartomeu insisted that was not the case.
"Barcelona has thing to fell and it's intolerable to accidental that Barcelona rigged immoderate match," helium said. "Saying that is outrageous. Barca person won each the titles successful caller years due to the fact that they person been amended than the remainder of their rivals.
"If they privation to search, fto them search, they volition find nothing. And retrieve that successful 2014, for example, a refereeing mistake outgo america a league rubric astatine location against Atlético. We ne'er said anything."
Asked what enactment Enriquez Negreira's institution carried retired for Barca, Bartomeu said: "He made 2 types of reports: a pre-game one, successful which helium indicated what the referee was similar and however helium behaved, and a post-game 1 successful which helium analysed the enactment that the referee had done, wherever helium had failed and wherever helium had got it right."
Bartomeu said the Enriquez Negreira lawsuit cannot beryllium compared to the Calciopoli scandal that rocked Italy successful 2006 and led to Juventus being relegated to Serie B with 2 of their titles being revoked.
"It's perverse to comparison this to the Moggigate [Calciopoli], crazy," Bartomeu said. "Barca is cleanable of everything, I insist, cleanable of everything and precise calm. This is simply a signifier carried retired by each clubs.
"Everyone has power implicit the refereeing work. And it's normal. The clubs kick publically and privately astir decisions that they see whitethorn person harmed them and spell to the federation with documentation and videos arsenic a effect of the enactment connected these reports."
Bartomeu said their collaboration ended with Enriquez Negreira successful 2018 due to the fact that Barca decided to bash their enactment themselves to prevention money.
On Thursday, LaLiga president Javier Tebas said the nine will not look sporting sanctions implicit the struggle of involvement accusations due to the fact that statute of limitations laws successful Spain marque it imaginable to punish clubs lone wrong 3 years of immoderate offences.
Enriquez Negreira was a top-flight referee successful Spain betwixt 1977 and 1992.
He was aboriginal the vice president of the referee's committee until 2018, erstwhile helium near the relation pursuing elections.
The existent president of the referees committee, Luis Medina Cantalejo, said helium believed successful the integrity of the league referees.
"We volition spot that the courts volition enactment and permission it successful their hands and that if anyone is liable that they wage the highest punishment," helium said.
According to El Mundo, Barca paid a full of €6.65m without taxation to Enriquez Negreira's company, with payments dating to 2001 erstwhile Joan Gaspart was nine president.
The nine presidents who succeeded Gaspart reportedly continued those payments and adjacent accrued the amount. Those nine presidents: Enric Reyna, Joan Laporta (twice), Sandro Rosell, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Carles Tusquets.
According to El Pais, the payments by Barcelona to Enriquez Negreira reached €7m and started backmost successful 2001. If so, that would mean Barcelona kept paying Enriquez Negreira during antithetic nine presidents, including from 2003-10 nether the archetypal word of existent president Joan Laporta, who again took complaint successful 2021.
"I unopen disconnected the faucet connected Negreira, Laporta quadrupled his salary, helium should explicate that," helium said in notation to Laporta's archetypal tenure arsenic president.
El Mundo reported that Enriquez Negreira had threatened Bartomeu to make a "scandal'' erstwhile the nine decided to halt paying for his company's services successful 2018.
In an interrogation with Spanish paper ABC connected Friday, Bartomeu said helium ended the declaration with the institution to trim costs and that the nine ne'er tried to question favour from referees. He added that successful speech for the wealth the nine received referee reports "in written signifier and successful DVD'' for each crippled for its archetypal squad and its "B'' team.
"It looks similar with this work we were asking for much penalties successful our favour oregon that we wanted to information the referees' decision, but it is not true. This idiosyncratic [Enriquez Negreira] had zero powerfulness of the referees,'' Bartomeu said.
Gaspart, who ran Barcelona from 2000-2003 erstwhile the payments allegedly started, has denied immoderate cognition of them.
Information from The Associated Press was utilized successful this report.