Barcelona, Spain. 28th April, 2015. Josep Maria Bartomeu (Barcelona), APRIL 28 2015 - Football/Soccer : Spanish Primera Division "Liga BBVA" match between FC Barcelona 6-0 Getafe at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain.

All you need to know about Barcelona’s latest scandal: Referee allegations explained

Some serious allegations have been levelled at Barcelona as an alleged scandal has been revealed relating to the former vice president of La Liga referees.

Barcelona are one of the biggest clubs in the world and things had been heading in the right direction on the pitch as Xavi’s side are currently sat top of La Liga.

The Catalan club are never too far away from drama off the pitch though and we’ve gathered all you need to know about the fresh set of allegations levelled at the club.

What have Barcelona been accused of?

The club have been accused of making payments of over £1million to the former vice president of La Liga referees, across a span of three years.

A report from the Que t’hi jugues show from the Spanish radio network Cadena SER broke the story and have detailed the latest updates. They have reported that Barcelona ‘paid €1.4million to a company owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira between 2016 and 2018.’

Who have Barcelona been making payments to?

Enriquez Negreira was a former First Division referee who between 2016-2018 held the position of vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) of the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

The former referee was in the post of vice president from 1994 to 2018. It is claimed that he was paid €532,728 (£473,340) in 2016, €541,752 (£481,358) in 2017, and €318,200 (£282,915) in 2018.

He was a referee in La Liga between 1975 and 1992 before he then became vice president. Enriquez Negreira was born in Barcelona and is a well-known figure in Spanish football.

How did Barcelona fare over that period?

The spell in question between 2016 and 2018 was largely a success, particularly on the domestic front.

Between 2015–16 and 2017-18, Barcelona won a total of eight trophies including two league titles and three Copa del Rey triumphs.

Luis Enrique was the manager during the first two seasons of the alleged payments and Ernesto Valverde was the man in charge during their 2017-18 campaign. Josep Maria Bartomeu was the club president.

The furthest Barcelona got in the Champions League throughout this period was the quarter-finals.

Unsurprisingly, these allegations have seen fresh scrutiny on how Barcelona were treated by match officials over that period.

Madrid-based publication Marca have noted that the Catalan club went 746 days – from February 14, 2016 to March 1, 2018 – without a penalty being given against them. VAR was brought in shortly after this period.

What has Barcelona’s response been?

Barcelona have delivered their response in the form of a club statement on the official website. The club have laid out five points relating to the allegations.

“In the past FC Barcelona hired the services of an external consultant that supplied the club’s technical secretaries with reports in video format of youth players from other clubs in Spain,” claimed the club statement.

“Additionally, the relationship with that supplier extended to technical reports related to professional refereeing in order to complement the information requested by the first and second team coaching staff. This a common practice among professional football clubs.

“These kinds of outsourced services are now the duty of a professional who works for the Football Department.

“FC Barcelona is sorry that this information has been released precisely when the team has hit its best form of the season.

“FC Barcelona shall be taking legal actions against those who are trying to tarnish the club’s image with possible insinuations against its good reputation that could be caused by the release of such information.”

What have the Spanish Football Federation said?

The Royal Spanish Football Federation were quick to provide a response to the latest allegations in the form of a statement on the official website.

“The CTA wants to make it clear that Mr. Enriquez Negreira is not part of any federative structure since the change of government carried out after the 2018 elections,” explained the statement.

“The Technical Committee of Referees regrets the behaviors that may be likely to violate the ethics of the estate. No active arbitrator or member of the CTA bodies may carry out any work that is likely to enter into a conflict of interest.

“The CTA makes itself available to the Justice to offer its maximum collaboration in any type of information that this Committee can provide.”

What punishments could Barcelona face?

It is difficult to say at this point, but if the allegations were to be proven true then Barcelona could face a range of sanctions from points deductions to relegation itself.

According to Marca though, Barcelona are unlikely to face any disciplinary action at this time. Unless it can be proven that Barcelona received preferential treatment from referees, then they are unlikely to be sanctioned.

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