Barcelona “have not committed any crime” or tried to “obtain some type of sporting advantage,” the membership’s president Joan Laporta mentioned Monday amid investigations into funds made to a former refereeing chief.
“Obviously referees were not bought and there was no attempt to influence their decisions,” Laporta instructed a press convention known as to focus on the affair on the membership’s Camp Nou stadium.
Final month Spanish prosecutors charged the Catalan membership with corruption after funds of greater than 7.three million euros ($7.eight million) to an organization owned by a former refereeing chief had been uncovered earlier this 12 months.
Barcelona say they paid Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the previous referee and ex-vice president of the refereeing committee of the Spanish soccer federation (CTA) between 1994 and 2018, for reviews and recommendation associated to refereeing.
Barcelona ceased its funds in 2018 due to Negreira’s departure from the CTA, in accordance to Spanish prosecutors.
The membership “has never done anything with the goal or intention of altering the competition to achieve some type of sporting advantage,” Laporta mentioned.
He known as the allegations of wrongdoing a part of a smear marketing campaign towards the Catalan aspect, who’re prime of La Liga.
“Basically it is an orchestrated campaign to destroy the reputation of FC Barcelona,” Laporta mentioned.
Laporta recalled that Spain’s tax workplace despatched a letter to prosecutors stating that “it has not been able to demonstrate that the payments made to Negreira’s companies could have influenced the referees or the result of any match.”
“They could not show it because it was not possible,” he added.
The scandal first broke following inspections from the tax workplace into Negreira’s accounts.
Barcelona have argued the funds had been for recommendation from referees and different providers, a place reaffirmed by Laporta who mentioned they had been all authorized and documented.
“Some services were provided. They were documented. There were invoices, payments registered in the accounting books. There was no crime of corruption,” he mentioned.
“We like to win by playing well. We don’t like to win because of refereeing.”
In addition to the membership and Enriquez Negreira, two of the membership’s former presidents, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, are dealing with the identical cost of corruption.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has mentioned Spanish soccer is enduring its “worst” ever second due to the refereeing corruption case involving Barcelona.
“The reputation of our football is at stake. I am ashamed. We have no explanation from Barcelona,” he added final month.
Laporta has beforehand criticised Tebas for “pushing a campaign” towards him.