March 17 – La Liga’s outspoken president Javier Tebas says Barcelona face a heavy sanction if found guilty of manipulating referees and has urged the club to come clean sooner rather than later.
Last week prosecutors filed an official complaint against Barcelona and two of its ex-presidents over millions of dollars allegedly paid to a company that belonged to the former vice president of Spain’s refereeing committee. Prosecutors allege that under a secret agreement and “in exchange for money”, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira favoured Barcelona in influencing results.
Barcelona were charged with paying Negreira and his company Dasnil 95, millions of dollars between 2001 and 2018, which club president Joan Laporta has fiercely denied.
Tebas has already called on Laporta to resign if the charges are proved and has now re-iterated that message.
“I am ashamed we still don’t have a convincing explanation,” Tebas told a recent conference entitled ‘Defending the European Football Ecosystem’.
“I believe that Barça did not pay or buy referees. But the Club must give an explanation of the payments to Negreira.
“Reputational damage to Barça and the League is tremendous. Hiding is not the solution. The penalties for buying referees will be very serious. Fines in the millions and demotion.”
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