A report in Spain has emerged claiming that FC Barcelona face charges for making payments of around €7 million to referees.
Barcelona’s manager, Xavi Hernandez, has emphasized his belief that the club has never gained an advantage from refereeing decisions.
Barcelona, along with ex-presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, reportedly face charges related to payments of approximately €7 million.
These alleged installments went to companies associated with the former vice president of the refereeing committee, Angel Maria Villar Negreira, and his son, Javier Enriquez Romero.
“I have never had the feeling that the club has benefitted from refereeing. Never,” Xavi said at a press conference on Thursday.
Despite the gravity of the charges, Xavi is focused on the team’s sporting issues. He expressed a pragmatic perspective on the media coverage surrounding the allegations.
“Next week there will be another Negreira story. In 15 days another [story], and within a month and a half, there will be another,” the coach added.
The charges Barcelona allegedly face range from corruption in sport to false administration. The payments to Negreira’s companies took place between 2001 and 2018.
The EFE, a Spanish news agency, reported the police conducted a search for evidence in the referees’ office at the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Thursday morning.
Joan Laporta, the current Barcelona president, has denied these charges. He has maintained that the payments were for “technical reports about referees”, nothing more.
Barca will return to action on Friday at home to Sevilla in La Liga.