Judge Finds FC Barcelona Benefited From ‘Systemic Corruption’ From Referees, Harming Real Madrid: Reports

A Spanish magistrate in charge of ‘Caso Negreira’ maintains that payments FC Barcelona made to the Former Vice President of the Referees Committee caused “systemic corruption” in Spanish football which harmed the Catalans’ rivals including Real Madrid and others, according to El Confidencial.

Barca were charged for “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field” by the Barcelona provincial prosecutor’s office in March after it emerged that they paid companies ran by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira at least €7.3 million ($7.9 million) from 2001 to 2018.

Club president Joan Laporta has continually maintained that the La Liga champions have done nothing wrong, and that the payments were made for honest consultation work.

Before the weekend, however, with Barca having already being cleared by UEFA to play in this season’s edition of the Champions League, El Mundo reported how the Spanish Civil Guard had concluded how ex-president of the Technical Referees Committee (CTA) Victoriano Sanchez Arminio and his vice Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira ran an “irregular operation” there with officiating decisions not always being “impartial” from a sporting perspective.

On Tuesday, with club currently out of action thanks to the international break, El Confidencial reports that it has had access to a resolution from magistrate judge Joaquin Aguirre’s, known as an ‘auto’ in Spain, where he maintains that the payments made to Negreira caused “system corruption”.

Furthermore, Aguirre believes that Real Madrid and “any other First Division team that has coincided with FC Barcelona during the years under investigation” can consider themselves “harmed by the alleged plot”.

In a further headache to Barca, legal proceedings will allegedly be re-ordered so that a separate strand of the case is opened which focuses exclusively on payments Barca made to Negreira and his son Jose Maria Enriquez Romeo.

New evidence will reportedly emerge to accelerate the investigations, and this should be a concern to Barca as UEFA informed them that this could result in them reopening their case when Xavi Hernandez’s men were “provisionally admitted to take part” in the Champions League this term.

The European governing body stressed that a “future decision on admission/exclusion” is still possible, and this could effect their participation in the next edition of the competition providing they qualify.

As of yet, Barca haven’t responded to the reports from El Confidencial and El Mundo.

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