Spanish club Barcelona have been charged with corruption over payment to made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee.
According to reports, Barca paid Negreira and a company he owns a reported total of 8.4m euros (£7.4m) between 2001 and 2018.
These lawsuits, brought by the Barcelona public prosecutor’s office, target the club, as well as former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell.
The public prosecutor’s office said, “FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and in exchange for money, the latter carries out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in decisions by the referees.”
Meanwhile, La Liga chief executive Javier Tebas said last month that current president Joan Laporta should resign if he was unable to explain the payments.
Laporta responded by saying he will not give Tebas “what he’d like by stepping down” and the charges come three days after Laporta insisted his club had “never bought referees”.
“Let it be clear Barca have never bought referees and Barca have never had the intention of buying referees, absolutely never,” he said on Tuesday.