Spanish prosecutors have filed a complaint after it was reported last month that Barcelona paid more than €7m (£6.2m) between 2001 and 2018 to companies owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, who has been vice-president of the Referees Committee since 1993 of the Spanish Football Federation was until 2018.
In a statement reported by local media, prosecutors said: “Through Presidents (Sandro) Rosell and (Jose Maria) Bartomeu, Barcelona have reached and maintained a highly confidential oral agreement with the accused Negreira, so that in his capacity as Vice President of the Arbitration Committee and for money, he would carry out actions aimed at favoring Barcelona in the decision-making of the referees in the club’s games and therefore in the results of the competitions.”
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The procedure focuses on payments between 2014 and 2018.
Rosell was president from 2010 to 2014, Bartomeu replaced him and remained in office until 2020. Former club executives Oscar Grau and Albert Soler were named among the accused in the case.
A judge has yet to decide whether the case will go ahead.
Barcelona have not publicly commented on Friday’s development but have denied any wrongdoing over the past month.
A statement said they had paid an outside consultant for “technical reports related to professional refereeing” and argued it was standard practice in the game.
On Tuesday, current Barca president Joan Laporta said: “Barca have never bought referees or influence. That was never the intention and that has to be clear. The facts contradict those who try to tell a different story.”
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