Former Barcelona chief Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed to ESPN that ex-Spanish refereeing committee (CTA) vice chairman Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira tried to extort cash from the Catalan membership in 2018 after it stopped making funds to his firm.
Enriquez Negreira is being investigated by the Spanish prosecutor’s workplace for receiving at the very least €1.6 million from Barca between 2016 and 2018 for consultancy work.
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Barca stopped making funds to Enriquez Negreira’s part-owned firm DASNIL 95 SL after June 2018 as soon as Negreira was not vice chairman of the CTA.
Enriquez Negreira despatched a registered letter to Bartomeu, revealed in El Mundo newspaper, wherein he threatened to disclose alleged irregularities of the membership until their partnership resumed.
“When we cut off the relationship, after a few days, I received Enriquez Negreira’s burofax, of which despite the threats, we never heard from him again,” Bartomeu advised ESPN.
“He sent us the letter in mid-2018 and until today, I always thought that this a useless document, that no matter how much he scratched, he would never get anything out [of it].”
Bartomeu confirmed that Barcelona contracted Enriquez Negreira’s firm, amongst different issues, was for “technical reports related to professional refereeing” and that such apply was commonplace in soccer.
There have been accusations that Barca gained benefits on the pitch, but Bartomeu insisted that was not the case.
“Barcelona has nothing to hide and it’s impossible to say that Barcelona rigged any match,” he mentioned. “Saying that is outrageous. Barca have won all the titles in recent years because they have been better than the rest of their rivals.
“If they wish to search, allow them to search, they’ll discover nothing. And do not forget that in 2014, for instance, a refereeing error price us a league title at residence in opposition to Atlético. We by no means mentioned something.”
Asked what work Enriquez Negreira’s company carried out for Barca, Bartomeu said: “He made two forms of studies: a pre-game one, wherein he indicated what the referee was like and the way he behaved, and a post-game one wherein he analysed the work that the referee had completed, the place he had failed and the place he had bought it proper.”
Bartomeu said the Enriquez Negreira case cannot be compared to the Calciopoli scandal that rocked Italy in 2006 and led to Juventus being relegated to Serie B with two of their titles being revoked.
“It’s perverse to match this to the Moggigate [Calciopoli], loopy,” Bartomeu said. “Barca is clear of all the things, I insist, clear of all the things and really calm. This is a apply carried out by all golf equipment.
“Everyone has control over the refereeing work. And it’s normal. The clubs complain publicly and privately about decisions that they consider may have harmed them and go to the federation with documentation and videos as a result of the work on these reports.”
Bartomeu mentioned their collaboration ended with Enriquez Negreira in 2018 as a result of Barca determined to do their work themselves to economize.
On Thursday, LaLiga president Javier Tebas mentioned the membership won’t face sporting sanctions over the battle of curiosity accusations as a result of statute of limitations legal guidelines in Spain make it attainable to punish golf equipment solely inside three years of any offences.
Enriquez Negreira was a top-flight referee in Spain between 1977 and 1992.
He was later the vice chairman of the referee’s committee till 2018, when he left the function following elections.
The present president of the referees committee, Luis Medina Cantalejo, mentioned he believed within the integrity of the league referees.
“We will trust that the courts will act and leave it in their hands and that if anyone is responsible that they pay the highest punishment,” he mentioned.
According to El Mundo, Barca paid a complete of €6.65m with out tax to Enriquez Negreira’s firm, with funds relationship to 2001 when Joan Gaspart was membership president.
The membership presidents who succeeded Gaspart reportedly continued these funds and even elevated the quantity. Those membership presidents: Enric Reyna, Joan Laporta (twice), Sandro Rosell, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Carles Tusquets.
According to El Pais, the funds by Barcelona to Enriquez Negreira reached €7m and began again in 2001. If so, that may imply Barcelona saved paying Enriquez Negreira throughout totally different membership presidents, together with from 2003-10 below the primary time period of present president Joan Laporta, who once more took cost in 2021.
“I shut off the faucet on Negreira, Laporta quadrupled his salary, he should explain that,” he mentioned in reference to Laporta’s first tenure as president.
El Mundo reported that Enriquez Negreira had threatened Bartomeu to create a “scandal” when the club decided to stop paying for his company’s services in 2018.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC on Friday, Bartomeu said he ended the contract with the company to reduce costs and that the club never tried to seek favor from referees. He added that in exchange for the money the club received referee reports “in written kind and in DVD” for each recreation for its first crew and its “B” team.
“It appears to be like like with this service we had been asking for extra penalties in our favor or that we needed to situation the referees’ determination, however it’s not true. This individual [Enriquez Negreira] had zero energy of the referees,” Bartomeu mentioned.
Gaspart, who ran Barcelona from 2000-2003 when the funds allegedly began, has denied any data of them.
Information from The Associated Press was used on this report.