Barcelona is involved in a scandal in Spain that involves paying money to refereeing officials for “technical reports” on the referees of the matches in which their football team would participate. In total, 1.4 million euros will have been paid over a period of two years. The case was revealed by Cadena SER, which confirmed with judicial sources that the Spanish Public Ministry has been investigating the situation since last year.
It all started following an investigation by the Tax Authority into the company Dasnil, owned by former arbitrator José María Enríquez Negreira and former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Arbitrators (CTA), the body responsible for managing arbitration issues in the Spanish football federation. The Spanish Public Ministry wants to understand the reasons that led Barcelona to pay that company 1.4 million euros between 2016 and 2018.
These deliveries took place during the presidency of Josep Maria Bartomeu, but according to judicial sources cited by the the countrythey took place over the last two decades, covering the mandates of Joan Gaspart (2000-2003), Joan Laporta, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu .
For now, Barcelona admitted, in a statement, that it requested “technical reports related to professional arbitration”, while Enríquez Negreira also acknowledged that he provided advice to the Catalan club on the referees who were going to referee each team’s game “cool”.
The Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office has already heard some of those involved and is trying to find out if there is enough evidence of corruption and is going to take the case to court or choose to close it.
Dasnil SL is a company created in 1995 by Enríquez Negreira, one year after he was appointed vice-president of the body equivalent to the Arbitration Council of the Portuguese Football Federation in Spain and three years after ending his career as a professional referee.
spanish federation condemns
So far, the investigation has not found any document proving that the former referee provided a service to Barcelona. This is because, according to what was advanced by Cadena SER, the advice was “verbal”. However, two former Barcelona employees during Bartomeu’s tenure allegedly declared to the Public Prosecutor’s Office that the company delivered weekly, or each time Barcelona played, reports on the characteristics of the referee who was going to officiate the next game of the Catalans’ main football team. .
The procedure involved delivering an envelope to Barcelona’s premises containing a written report and a DVD analyzing the profile and behavior on the field of play of the referee who was going to take charge of the next Barça game. These elements were then handed over to the technical team of the Catalans who decided whether they were useful or not. This practice took place every week and involved not only Barcelona’s main football team but also Barcelona B.
The case has already deserved, however, the condemnation of the Spanish football federation. In a statement released this Wednesday, the body led by Luis Rubiales expressed its disgust at “behaviors that may be liable to undermine the ethics of the arbitration oath”, adding that “no active arbitrator or member of the CTA can develop any type of work that is likely to give rise to a conflict of interest”.