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FC Barcelona once more lashes out in corruption case: ‘This lynching is unacceptable’ | Sport

FC Barcelona admits that it made funds to a former referee for years, however denies that the cash was supposed to affect the arbitration and outcomes of matches. “We’re victims of a smear marketing campaign,” President Joan Laporta stated at a press convention at the moment.

Barça president Laporta has waited two months to touch upon the intense allegations of attainable corruption as he awaits the outcomes of an inside investigation, he stated. And that investigation is obvious, based on him: ,,There have been no behaviors throughout the membership that will be punishable as an offense of sporting corruption, neither is there proof of influencing the competitors.

Justice has opened an investigation into the funds made by the membership to former referee José Maria Enriquez Negreira, who acquired €7 million from Barcelona between 2001 and 2018, when he was vice-chairman of the Soccer Affiliation’s Technical Committee of Referees.

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• Barça additionally beneath magnifying glass at UEFA: investigation into attainable bribery

“These have been authentic funds for technical {and professional} recommendation from individuals within the arbitration world, however that isn’t prohibited, and positively not punishable,” stated Laporta. ,,We now have invoices for that, plus at the least 629 experiences and 42 CDs that we acquired from Negreira and have been in a position to find. It’s seventeen years of labor, and the quantity paid is just not distinctive for that.”

The president of Barça, which seems to be set to win the Spanish championship this season, stated the membership is the sufferer of a smear marketing campaign designed to “shake and take over” the membership, referring to the chance that FC Barcelona could possibly be obliged to develop into a restricted legal responsibility firm due to the numerous (monetary) issues.

“We now have been publicly lynched, together with by the media,” stated Laporta. “And we do not deserve that. Not solely our credibility, however that of all soccer is at stake. Let’s look ahead to justice. We have been discovered responsible earlier than the choose has handed. After its investigation, the tax authorities haven’t been in a position to show that Mr. Negreira’s funds to corporations have influenced the arbitration or the outcomes of matches. That can’t be confirmed, as a result of it by no means occurred.”

At a gathering with a Barcelona supporters membership in Getafe, the place the workforce drew 0-0 on Sunday, Laporta already gave an thought of ​​what his protection could be final weekend. ,,They’ve made the case a lot larger than it’s as a result of there may be an ex-referee concerned. However that man (Negreira, ed.) had no option to affect the outcomes of matches, as a result of he was not chargeable for appointing the referees.”

He additionally stated he finds it unusual that rival Actual Madrid has supported the accusation of the judiciary, based on him “a membership that traditionally has a number of benefit in terms of arbitration”. At his press convention, he repeated the criticism of Actual Madrid and the Liga, the organizer of the Primera División, which has additionally supported the accusation.

The query is whether or not Laporta’s clarification is adequate to keep away from a attainable penalty from UEFA. The European affiliation has already requested for data and might take motion, for instance by excluding Barcelona from the Champions League subsequent season, with out a court docket conviction.

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