Barcelona corruption saga: Sevilla call for La Liga & RFEF to help 'get to the bottom' of referee payments case

Barcelona-badgeGetty
  • Barca paid referees chief €1.6m between 2016-2018
  • Investigation into payments ongoing
  • Sevilla first team to make public statement

WHAT HAPPENED? It has been reported that Barcelona made 33 separate payments to a company owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees in Spain. An investigation is now underway by the Prosecutor's Office, but La Liga are unable to open their own formal process due to a statute of limitations rule. However, Sevilla have urged the league and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to do whatever they can to aid the investigation in an official statement expressing "concern" over the allegations of corruption aimed at Barca.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Sevilla FC wishes to express its concern and indignation at the information that, day by day, has come to light through the media, making it clear that it is absolutely necessary to get to the bottom of the matter in order to clarify what happened and who is responsible," the club said in a statement.

"The serious nature of the facts known so far, which call into question or sow doubts about the integrity of Spanish football competitions, also leads Sevilla FC to publicly request that LaLiga and the RFEF, as the highest representatives of Spanish football, with the RFEF also being the highest authority responsible for the refereeing collective, that, when the time comes, they promote and take part in all proceedings that may arise from this case once the investigation has been completed."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sevilla are the first club to publicly call on Spanish football to look into the so-called "Negreira case". La Liga president Javier Tebas has called Barca's sporting integrity into question, though, and the RFEF released their own statement on the matter last week pledging to "appear in any possible legal proceedings on this matter".

IN TWO PHOTOS:

Barcelona-badge-Camp-NouGettyJavier Tebas La LigaGetty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR BARCELONA? It has been reported that the club could face criminal punishment if found guilty of any wrongdoing in the case, but Xavi's team have remained focused on matters on the field. Barca will be back in action in the second leg of the Europa League knockout play-off tie against Manchester United on Thursday.

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