- Barcelona officially charged in referee payment scandal
- Allegedly paid Negreira €7m for referee reports
- Madrid call board meeting to decide course of action
WHAT HAPPENED? The Catalan club and former presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep María Bartomeu have been officially denounced by prosecutors as the investigation into the Negreira case became official. It is alleged that the club made payments amounting to almost €7 million - between 2001 and 2018 - to the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. Now, Real Madrid has convened an urgent board of directors meeting to decide the next course of action.
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WHAT THEY SAID? A statement from Real Madrid read: "Given the seriousness of the accusations made by the Barcelona Prosecutor's Office against FC Barcelona and two of its presidents for well-founded suspicions of corruption and their relations with whoever was the vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees, José María Enríquez Negreira, the president has convened urgently to the Board of Directors tomorrow, Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 12:00 p.m., in order to decide on the actions that Real Madrid deems appropriate in relation to this matter."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: This is the first time that Los Blancos have addressed the corruption allegations publicly, with Barca's Clasico rivals clearly irked by the 'Negreira case'. They had refrained from supporting the previous statement issued by 40 La Liga teams that "rejected and condemned" the case and are now seemingly pursuing their legal options. If Barcelona are found guilty they could face sporting sanctions, Sport is reporting.
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WHAT NEXT? This is set to be a lengthy legal battle that could indeed end with sanctions being imposed on the club if proven guilty, but the results won't be made public any time soon.