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Odour of Sanctity FC has been paying money -7M euros, or thereby- to a referee, subsequently VP of the referees' association,  for absolutely no reason whatsoever. No siree, just money for nothin'. 

Well, I believe it. 



Barcelona’s past payments to referees’ chief cast dark cloud over La Liga

Questions abound after revelations that José María Enríquez Negreira, the former referee, was paid €7m by Barcelona

Sid Lowe


Mon 20 Feb 2023 17.54 GMT




“Today we talked about Cádiz,” said Xavi Hernández, Barcelona’s coach, and the only person there taking questions. “We talked about Cádiz, we watched a video on Cádiz, we did some Cádiz set plays, everything we did is Cádiz. We took a retreat in Cádiz.” Cádizian isolation, he called it, and it would be a good choice. A festival of parody and rebellion, serious about being silly – carnival was just beginning there, over 1,000km south-west of Catalonia, Europe’s most ancient city becoming its most enjoyable, too. A lot more fun than where Barça actually found themselves, that’s for sure.

“I try to focus on the football, but this club has these things,” Xavi said. Barcelona faced Manchester United and then Cádiz this past week; they also faced something much more serious, as did the entire Spanish game.


The story broke on the eve of the Europa League match against United: Barcelona had paid €1.4m to the vice-president of the Spanish referees’ committee, the CTA, between 2016 and 2018. That was just the start and it’s not finished yet. With every new revelation, with every new thing that was said – and not said – it got worse. In total, the Catalan referee José María Enríquez Negreira received €7m over 20 years. None of this is disputed.

It started accidentally, as these things tend to, with a tax inspection. Three payments of €532,728, €541,752 and €318,200 were revealed, made to a company owned by Negreira, who was a referee between 1977 and 1992, and then vice-president of the referees’ body from 1994 to 2018. The tax office passed the details to state prosecutors, an investigation into corruption started on the grounds there was no evidence of the services mentioned on the invoices being rendered.

Barcelona initially declined to comment but once the story was out the president, Joan Laporta, recorded a video confirming the payments while insisting that Negreira worked as an adviser, preparing reports and guiding players on refereeing issues – something Laporta described as “very normal”. He also said: “It’s not chance that this comes out now, when Barça are doing well.” If that old line was as familiar as it was weak, Gerard Piqué wasn’t far behind, turning to the one about things coming out of Madrid.

The investigation has been under way since May. The story was broken by Què t’hi jugues: SER Barcelona.


Negreira had been called to testify and could not provide evidence he had provided any service – although his son, a refereeing “coach” could, in the form of videos and written reports. Negreira told investigators he provided “verbal consultancy”. He said that he had never benefited Barcelona, nor been responsible for assigning them referees. “FCB wanted to ensure that refereeing decisions were not taken against them. That is to say, that everything was neutral,” the inspectors’ report said.


Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, says their payments to a referees’ chief for consultancy were “very normal”.


The impact was immense, many scrambling to escape the blast. The first thing the referees’ committee said in the statement was that Negreira had not been in the post since 2018, when there was a change at the federation, Luis Rubiales taking over as president. They said referees sign a code of conduct and, while not illegal, working for a club while also holding a post in the CTA would certainly break it. The current referees’ head, Luis Medina Cantalejo, said he would put “both hands in the fire” to defend referees’ honesty and added no one really knew what Negreira did, that his role had not been especially relevant.


More details followed beyond those initial three years (the only ones the tax office are investigating). The relationship goes back to at least 2001, taking in different presidents and regimes: Joan Gaspart, Joan Laporta, Sandro Rosell, and Josep Maria Bartomeu. At best, those men had inherited a relationship they did not terminate. Gaspart denied any knowledge. Laporta didn’t speak again, even when Bartomeu said that Laporta had increased Negreira’s fee. Payments were managed via a company owned by a now deceased club director, subsequent reports revealed.


Bartomeu cut the payments in 2018 because of the club’s financial crisis, he said. Which is also the year Negreira left the CTA. When he did, there was a reaction. Negreira wrote to Bartomeu telling him he took this as a personal insult, an indication that he no longer owed loyalty to the club or, he added, the men who had presided over it. He demanded over €200,000 in outstanding payments, invited the then president to reflect, noting that a scandal would not be good for the club and threatening to reveal all the “irregularities” he saw. He did not, it seems, follow through.


The question is: what irregularities?

That’s the question, but there appear so many, all working towards that, all intertwined. So many things that don’t fit. Or, that only fit an awful scenario. Starting at the very beginning: why pay a former referee and vice-president of the CTA? In return for what? What did Barcelona get? What did they think they were getting?

What does neutrality mean? How and why can you buy it? If you’re paying that for neutrality, what does that say about you, them, and everyone? If he didn’t have that much control, why pay at all? If he was irrelevant, how did he get so far? If he was a charlatan, as some have suggested, he succeeded: how? If he made broken promises, they were still paid for. Why would you do that? If no one actually promised anything, still less delivered it, what were they paying for? If the club were victims, why did they let that happen? Is it coincidence that the year they stopped paying him was the year he was pushed out of the CTA? How did it get through compliance, through the audits?


It is hard to get away from this: seven million euros. Seven million euros for consultancy? For reports? How good were these reports? Seven million for neutrality? “I hate to think what he would charge for bias,” Jorge Valdano wrote. Could the numbers on balance sheets not mean anything? Seven million, meh, so what? Could those numbers on cards, penalties and more over the years, just statistical quirks, a reflection of the football, actually mean something? Here’s another one, raised by the investigation: why wasn’t Negreira rich, why doesn’t he have more assets? Where did the money go? Why was he demanding more?

Why did no one think this was a bad idea, if only for fear of how it looked? Caesar’s wife must not only be pure but look pure, the phrase goes. Other clubs do indeed have refereeing consultants, usually former officials. Why not do that, rather than the guy near the top? If no one at CTA knew what he did, why not? If he didn’t really do anything, if he was irrelevant, what was he doing there? Why hasn’t the president of the CTA back then, reportedly devastated, said anything? Why hasn’t Ángel María Villar, the then president of the federation? Why have none of the other clubs, so swift to release statements whinging about just about anything, so keen to accuse and see conspiracy, uttered a single word?


How far does this go? Who else might appear? Are Barcelona the only club? Where does it end? How much more is to come? How much worse can it get? And then what? In purely sporting terms, it is possible that the answer to that is nothing: as it stands, these apparent infractions are time-barred. And so, whatever happens, what’s left is this, this … smell. The vice-president of the referees’ committee paid €7m by a club. What is left is an inescapable feeling of wrongness. That this will go away but never really go away.


“These things can’t happen ethically nor aesthetically,” said the president of the league, Javier Tebas. That’s the very least of it. Asked about the case, the former Barcelona coach Quique Setién said: “As the years go by, you realise that you can no longer change the things that are rotten. In this sport there are lots of people who have never kicked a ball in their lives but have benefited well beyond their value. Everyone knows that where there is money there are people with hidden interests and a lot of corruption.”

Xavi said: “I would rather go home than win through cheating.” The pre- and post-match press conferences saw him fielding questions others wouldn’t answer, while preparing for Sunday night’s game against Cádiz, seeking isolation from it all. Barcelona won 2-0.


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  • 3 weeks later...

The persecution continues. 

I wonder when Perderasts-R-Us FC will declare solidarity and support, there being a speshull relationship, 'n' 'at. 


Barcelona taken to court over referee payments

Spain’s public prosecutor decides to proceed with business corruption case after scandal involving club’s payments to a senior refereeing official’s company

Martyn Ziegler

, Chief Sports Reporter

Tuesday March 07 2023, 7.40pm, The Times


A court will now decide whether there is enough evidence for a full case to be heard against Barcelona and former president Bartomeu






The scandal involving payments by Barcelona to a senior refereeing official’s company is heading to court after Spain’s public prosecutor decided to proceed with a case against the club for business corruption.

Spain’s El País newspaper has reported that charges have been brought and a court will now decide whether there is sufficient evidence for a full case to be heard against Barcelona and their former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Payments by Barcelona to José María Enríquez Negreira’s company totalled almost €7 million (£6.24 million) from 2001 to 2017 while he was the vice-president of Spanish football’s referees’ committee. The club have denied any wrongdoing, saying the money was for technical reports on referees and youth players.

El País reported that the prosecutor’s office will accuse Barcelona of “business corruption”, which includes fraud in sports. Under Spanish law that includes a section that explicitly covers sports competitions and includes “managers, administrators, employees or collaborators of a sports entity” as well as “athletes, referees or judges” who intend to “deliberately and fraudulently predetermine or alter the result of a test, meeting or sports competition”.

The payments came to light as part of a tax probe into Enríquez Negreira’s company. Barcelona said that they had hired the company as an external consultant to produce “reports in video format of youth players from other clubs in Spain” and for “reports related to professional refereeing”.

El Mundo newspaper reported that Enríquez Negreira had threatened Bartomeu, then the Barcelona president, to create a “scandal” when the club decided to stop paying for his company’s services in 2018.

At an event on Tuesday, Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, was asked about the scandal and replied: “Barça has never bought referees and Barça has never had any intention of buying referees. Absolutely never. The forcefulness of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story.”

Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, has said it is unable to take any action because it is time-barred. The Spanish FA has said that Enríquez Negreira has not been part of the referees’ committee since 2018, when Luis Rubiales took over as president, and that rules now prohibit any committee member from being employed as a consultant by any club.


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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

The odour of sanctity overwhelmed by the stench of corruption.

More than a club? Indeed.


Barcelona host Real Madrid amid angst over referee payment scandal

La Liga’s giants were briefly on the same page but the case against Barça has injected a level of paranoia into this title race

Barney Ronay


Sun 19 Mar 2023 08.00 GMT





The battle for the glorious past will be fought in the inglorious present. And it will be fought with heavily edited Twitter videos. Early last week Real Madrid TV released what can only be described as an attack video, aimed at the former La Liga referee José María Enriquez Negreira. If this seems a little extreme, it is worth noting this was in fact a follow-up, sequel to Real Madrid TV’s previous attack video aimed at referee Carlos Clos Gómez, now head of La Liga VAR.

There have been grander, s******, more knife-edge meetings between Barcelona and Real Madrid. But not many have been more strangely pitched than Sunday night’s clásico at the Camp Nou, or more obviously fraught with angst, mudslinging and paranoia.

The game itself will either decide the title race or inject a little late-breaking life. Defeat would cut Barcelona’s lead at the top to six points with 12 matches to go, which still looks like a lot of points. The gap from Barcelona to Atlético Madrid in third place was a muscular 17 going into this weekend. Squint and it could almost be the grand old days of the global duopoly, when the bloom of the Messi-Ronaldo years made this fixture football’s grandest single event.


But this isn’t quite that. Instead this is a fixture that will be played out to the sound of the recent past being angrily divvied up. The European Super League fiasco had seemed to heal the old wounds in the name of pursuing common interests, with reports of Joan Laporta and Florentino Pérez being seen regularly taking dinner together. The latest from Barcelona is that Laporta is considering cancelling the traditional pre-clásico lunch. Instead La Liga’s two most powerful clubs seem intent on eating one another.

The spark for all this is of course the charges brought against Barcelona this month in relation to payments made to Negreira during his time as a senior La Liga referee. Real Madrid have now formally joined the case, a process that allows them to support and present evidence, which of course they were always going to do.


This is already a scandal of jaw-dropping proportions. The period being investigated ranges from 2001 to 2018. During those years Barcelona won 10 league titles, four Champions Leagues and three Club World Cups, in the process establishing the Barça brand as a definitive modern sporting juggernaut.

The entire basis of Messi-dom, the greatest individual club career in football history, was pegged out around that timespan. Vast, fortunes were made on the back of it. In 2018 Barcelona became the first sports team to pass $1bn in annual revenues. All the while they were simultaneously paying one of Spain’s most senior referees a regular stipend totalling almost €7m. To give some context this is the equivalent of finding out Manchester United had Howard Webb secretly on the payroll through the Ferguson years; and then arguing in their defence that this should all be seen as perfectly normal.


A Real Madrid supporter holds up a sign about Barcelona during the Champions League second leg against Liverpool

A Real Madrid supporter makes his feelings about Barcelona clear during the Champions League second leg against Liverpool. Photograph: Alberto Gardin/NurPhoto/Shutterstock


Hence the public fury, the online howls, the hostile compilations of alleged refereeing oddities in favour of Barcelona overseen by the named parties; batted back with counter-outrage about Real Madrid’s own influence over all levels of power in Spanish football.

Looking back at the clips and the cuts in those slickly edited videos what strikes you is the epic shapes and colours, the iconography of what was, looking back, the greatest global club football show ever staged. Here is peak, hyper-elastic CR7 hurling himself with thrilling athleticism to the turf. Here is a boyish Lionel Messi looking baffled. Here are beautiful, glossy shots of the centre of the sporting world: Pep-José, Catalonia versus royal Spain, a celebrity two-hander that drove the commercial growth of the global game more than any other single event. What would it mean to tarnish that era now, to start pulling down those statues and throwing them into the harbour?


It has been reported that Barcelona’s directors will argue Negreira was paid only to redress what they saw as bias towards other clubs, a kind of backdoor vigilante refereeing justice. It has also been claimed that Negreira threatened to go public if the payments were stopped, a statement that, if true, skirts pretty close to an admission of wrongdoing (what, otherwise, would be wrong with going public?).


Beyond that the line from Barcelona seems to be the payments were in return for “scouting reports” with the implication that everyone else is up to this too. The president, Laporta, denies any wrongdoing, insisting that Negreira worked as an adviser, preparing reports and guiding players on refereeing issues – something Laporta described as “very normal”. He will give evidence, with a chance the former Barça coaches Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde will also be dragged in.


In reality the likelihood of Barcelona being stripped, banished or financially pummelled seem remote. Which interests exactly – which source of power and wealth – would that serve?

Potentially this might present an obstacle to the stadium rebuild plans, which involve taking out a €1.5bn loan. This is a club jacked up precariously on their own economic levers, hostage to a vast debt secured via their own good name, the certainty this thing will always continue to generate excess revenue. And that is arguably what is at stake here, the basic energy source, the purity of that name,


Is it going to be possible to maintain that highly profitable sense of Barça exceptionalism when the grim and granular details emerge?

Barcelona managed to retail the Més que un club shtick while wearing Unicef and Qatar Airways on the same shirt, like some rapaciously moralising two-face, and always presenting itself as the underdog; the ewoks not the Death Star. It all starts to look a little stranger if this version of the past takes hold.


These are tricky times generally for La Liga, which has struggled to match the Premier League’s combination of vast TV rights income and the presence of nation-state clubs with economic guarantees of their own. There is something touching, and perhaps just a little bit creepy about the jealous zeal with which the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, talks about Kylian Mbappé, who is suddenly so vital to the vibes, the energy and aura.

This is a league that fed on stars for 15 years and where the president is suddenly acting as a kind of Pandarus, purring about Madrid’s enduring commercial power, aware of the vital uplift in interest and TV values his presence would bring to a league currently marinading in its own fear and loathing.

For now Barcelona will be narrow favourites on Sunday night. The referee story has coincided with three consecutive wins and a sense of galvanising fury. Only Bayern Munich have won at the Camp Nou all season. Pedri is back for Barça, Karim Benzema fit for Madrid. All that really seems certain is it should be tight, angsty and a little spiteful.

Some things, at least, don’t change.





Edited by Uilleam
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Oh dear!

When sharks turn on shark, there is generally blood in the water. 



Barcelona could face Champions League ban over payments to former referees’ chief

Uefa opens investigation into £6.5m spend over 16 years, which club has said was for ‘technical reports’ on officials

Martyn Ziegler

Chief Sports Reporter

Thursday March 23 2023, 3.00pm, The Times




Barcelona are facing the threat of a possible Champions League ban after Uefa announced its own investigation into the club paying millions of euros to a company run by a senior Spanish refereeing official.

It comes as Spanish prosecutors pursue a case against Barcelona over payments to Jose Maria Enríquez Negreira’s company totalling €7.3 million (about £6.5 million) from 2001 to 2017, while he was the vice-president of Spanish football’s referees’ committee.


Regulations introduced in April 2007 allow Uefa to ban teams from its competitions for one season if they have been involved in fixing matches, even if those were not in Uefa competitions. It previously barred the Turkish clubs, Fenerbahce (from the Champions League) and Besiktas (from the Europa League), under those regulations.


Barcelona have denied any wrongdoing, saying the money was for technical reports on referees and youth players. No evidence has yet been published that referees or individual games were actually influenced.


Any suspension from Uefa’s elite club competition would be a serious blow to Barcelona, who have been struggling financially since the Covid pandemic. The club have a 12-point lead in La Liga and look certain to qualify for next season’s Champions League, which would guarantee at least €50 million of income.

Uefa said in a statement: “Ethics and disciplinary inspectors have today been appointed to conduct an investigation regarding a potential violation of Uefa’s legal framework by FC Barcelona in connection with the so-called ‘Caso Negreira’ [Negreira case]. ”


Prosecutors in Spain have formally accused Barcelona of corruption, fraudulent management and falsification of business documents. An investigating judge will decide if this will lead to charges. The payments came to light as part of a tax probe into Negreira’s company.

The Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, said last month: “Barça has never bought referees and Barça has never had any intention of buying referees. Absolutely never. The forcefulness of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story.”

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2 hours ago, Sutton_blows_goats said:

Not sure why Barca would get involved in making payments like this for no reason.

It's about 400K GBP per season...


4 hours ago, Uilleam said:

for technical reports on referees and youth players

That's a lot of reports, and a lot of data to assimilate, particularly when it is likely that more than a club will have other sources providing information, opinion, and stats. 





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9 minutes ago, Uilleam said:

It's about 400K GBP per season...


That's a lot of reports, and a lot of data to assimilate, particularly when it is likely that more than a club will have other sources providing information, opinion, and stats. 





Interesting, so essentially it could just be scouting reports on referees? Who is more likely to give a free kick for a dive etc


If that's the case then that's nothing wrong, that's just smart.

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2 minutes ago, Sutton_blows_goats said:

Interesting, so essentially it could just be scouting reports on referees? Who is more likely to give a free kick for a dive etc


If that's the case then that's nothing wrong, that's just smart.

.........And such would be easily proved. 

Barcelona could publish and be damned, or publish with suitable redactions, to protect the innocent. 


How many referees, etc were there working in La Liga over the 16 year period? There will have be a churn , but is that enough to justify 400K per annum for reports on them?

Therefore, the majority of the expenditure would, it seems, have been spent on reports on youth players. This, again, could be proved easily.

However, there remains  the question of why would you ask a referee to scout players, and pay him handsomely to do so? 




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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

 Barcelona hits back at accusations of corruption, labelling them smears. 

Still doesn't want to produce the reports for which it claims it paid. 

I am sure that there are good reasons for this. Really good reasons. 


Barcelona president Joan Laporta says club are victim of smear campaign

The 60-year-old criticises La Liga chief and Real Madrid as he defends his club against claims of corruption

Dani Gil, Barcelona

Monday Aril 17 2023, 4.30pm, The Times


A seething Laporta hit back at Barcelona’s accusers during a heated press conference




Barcelona’s president says the club have been subjected to a “public lynching” and has accused La Liga’s president of making “false accusations” over claims of corruption, including the bribery of referees.

Joan Laporta also said that Real Madrid, Barcelona’s biggest rivals and one of their accusers, are the team “most favoured by refereeing decisions historically” and expressed his hope that “justice can unmask them”.

Spanish prosecutors are pursuing a case against Barcelona over payments made to the company of Jose Maria Enríquez Negreira, a former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee, totalling €7.3 million (about £6.5 million) from 2001-17. Uefa also last month announced that it would be carrying out its own investigation, which could lead to Barcelona being banned from European competition.

Barcelona have denied any wrongdoing, saying the money was for technical reports on referees and youth players. And, at a press conference, Laporta attacked those who have accused the club of corruption.

“Barcelona has never carried out any action with the aim or intention of altering the competition in order to obtain a sporting advantage,” he said. “We do not like to win through refereeing, and the tax agency has not identified any conduct with criminal relevance linked to bribery.

“You can’t condemn anyone before they have been tried. Barcelona has not had the presumption of innocence in the media but has been subjected to a public lynching.”

Laporta, who said that Barcelona have filed a total of 20 claims for defamation, singled out Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, who has said this is the most serious integrity issue to hit Spanish football and that it was keeping him awake at night.

“He has acted irresponsibly, unwisely and with an obvious lack of professionalism,” Laporta said of Tebas. “I ask him to stop this verbal incontinence because it does not do La Liga any favours, which he constantly denigrates with false accusations”.

Tebas, the president of La Liga, was singled out for criticism by Laporta


Laporta, who began a second spell as club president in 2021 after seven years at the helm from 2003-10, then turned his ire on Real, who have been named as a private prosecutor in the case.

“It is the club that has been most favoured by refereeing decisions historically and also now,” he said. “It has always been considered the team of the regime. For seven decades, most of the presidents of the referees’ committee were ex-partners, ex-players or ex-managers of Real Madrid. For them to say that they feel they have been wronged in sporting terms is an unprecedented exercise in cynicism. I hope that justice can unmask them.”

Barcelona are 11 points clear of Real at the top of La Liga and are poised to return to the Champions League next season, but the club are worried that any Uefa sanctions could include a ban from the competition.

There have been suggestions that Barcelona’s status as one of the founding clubs of the ill-fated Super League project may also count against them, but Laporta — who said he would defend the club “to the last drop of blood I have” — praised Aleksander Ceferin, the president of European football’s governing body, for his handling of the situation so far.

“Javier Tebas has used this as an opportunity for Uefa to add to this public lynching,” Laporta, 60, added. “However, I appreciate the prudence with which Mr Ceferin is taking the case. So far he has not fallen into Javier Tebas’s trap. Barça is questioning Uefa’s monopoly and is looking for tools to compete with state clubs, but Uefa will rule on the Negreira case when the time comes.”

Real Madrid

Edited by Uilleam
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Real Madrid accuse Barcelona of being Franco’s club after Joan Laporta attack

By Mario Cortegana and Luke Bosher

Apr 17, 2023




Real Madrid have responded to Barcelona president Joan Laporta’s claim that they were the “club of the regime”.

Earlier on Monday, Laporta gave a press conference in which he again denied any wrongdoing after his club were charged with corruption in the ‘Negreira Case’. Barcelona have been accused of corruption over payments they made to the then-vice-president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

But Laporta then went on to attack Barcelona’s historic rivals Real, claiming they had historically been favoured by the officials because they were “the club of the regime,” referencing the period of Spanish history in which Franciso Franco ruled in a dictatorship from 1933 until 1975.

Real then put out a video on the club’s official channels on Monday evening, in which they ask “which is the team of the regime?” and document Barcelona’s own links to Franco.

They explain that Barcelona awarded Franco three medals and made him an honourary club member in 1965. The video also points out that during the Franco regime, Barcelona won eight La Liga titles and nine Copas del Generalisimo (later, Copa del Rey), while Real endured a 15-year period in which they did not win a domestic league title.

They also refer to the words of Santiago Bernabeu, the legendary Real player who their stadium is named after. He once said “when I hear that Real Madrid has been the team of the regime, it makes me want to shit on the father of whoever says it”.

The video also highlights that Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium was opened by Franco’s general minister, Jose Solis Ruiz, and that the club was saved from bankruptcy three times during the regime.


Barcelona have denied any wrongdoing and Enriquez Negreira has denied ever favouring Barcelona in terms of refereeing decisions.

Real previously confirmed their intention to join the complaint against Barcelona in March, alongside La Liga and the Spanish FA, and expressed their “utmost concern” regarding the charges.

Laporta addressed Real’s stance in his speech, saying: “They (Real) claim to feel aggravated in sporting terms by this. This comes from a club, as we all know, that has been favoured from refereeing back in history and still nowadays. A club that was regarded as ‘the club of the regime’ back in the days.

“Why was that? Because of how close they were to the political, economical and sportive power… it might have to be remembered that during seven decades, the majority of presidents and officials from the refereeing committee were former Real Madrid partners, former Real Madrid footballers or former Real Madrid executives. During 70 years, the people in charge to make decisions in that regard were from Real Madrid.

“Seeing now that this club joins the official complaint and declares themselves disadvantaged from a sporting point of view is an unprecedented show of cynicism. I hope the whole trial puts them in the place they should be.”


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