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Former president of FC Barcelona comes out in defense of the club after alleged payment to referees in Spain

Josep Maria Bartomeu, former president of FC Barcelona.

Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP / Getty Images

The FC Barcelona scandal continues to spread, as upon disclosure of an alleged payment of $1.5 million dollars to a company owned by José María Enriquez Negreira, vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) between 1994 and 2018, Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of FC Barcelona between 2015 and 2020, has stated that it is “false and absurd”.

In statements to La Vanguardia, the former president of Barça recalls that the relationship between the company DASNIL 95, owned by Enriquez Negreira, and the entity started long before he assumed the presidency of the club.

Bartomeu points out that the relationship with the vice president of the CTA between 1994 and 2018 began under the mandate of José Luis Núñez and that, successively, that relationship was maintained with Joan Gaspart, Joan Laporta, Sandro Rosell and himself.

However, the former president of the entity denies that by contracting the services of Enríquez Negreira’s company the club intended to influence the arbitrations.

“Is absolutely false and absurd to think that we bought any arbitrator, there is nothing to hide”, he points out. And, in this sense, he reflects: “If we had influenced the referees they would not have disallowed a goal on the last day against Atlético that gave us a League, it is absurd to think so. AND I could give more examples.

As the Barça club already explained in a statement, Bartomeu maintains that the payments were made in exchange for “usual” arbitration reports in the world of football.

“The Reports exist, they were delivered to both the first team and Barça B before each game to comment on aspects of the referee they were playing. The coaches and players thanked them”, underlines Bartomeu, who acknowledges that the aforementioned reports were prepared by Enríquez Negreira’s son, Javier Enríquez Romero.

He was a very good professional. I barely had contact with his father ”, Bartomeu highlights the person responsible for preparing the reports.

With information from EFE

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