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Joan Laporta Insists Barcelona Didn’t Bribe Referees




FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes that his club has not committed any sports-related crime even though the club is currently bedeviled by legal battles.

Currently, FC Barcelona are being investigated and charged with making payments to influence referees between 2001 and 2018 which could earn them a ban from UEFA Champions League or point deductions from the league.

Authorities in Spain claimed that Barcelona gave Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of Spain’s referees committee, 8.4 million euros (£7.4 million) to help them win games.

In line with that, FC Barcelona were charged with “corruption,” “breach of trust,” and “false business records” in March 2023.

The governing body of European football, Uefa, has declared that it is also looking into the situation.

Amidst the interest the case has generated, Barcelona have insisted that the money paid to the former referee chief was used for consultation services.

In a recent statement from Barca president, Laporta said, “This is one of the most ferocious attacks in our history.

“I am convinced that FC Barcelona has not committed any crime of sports-related corruption. I hope that sooner rather than later it is fully exonerated.

“I ask FC Barcelona supporters to be as united as ever in defense of our crest, our essence, and our ownership model, which is that of a club owned by all of its members.”

Barcelona, according to Laporta, has a record of all payments made between 2001 and 2018.

“Some services were provided,” he said. “They were documented. There were invoices and payments registered in the accounting books. There was no crime of corruption.”