The judge investigating the payments to the former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) José María Enríquez Negreira by FC Barcelona has accused the club of bribery, that is, bribery. The judge understands that the crime has already been completed due to the mere fact that payments of 7 million euros have existed for two decades (which the club has not denied, but has separated from corruption and has linked them to advisory work). .
Judge Aguirre’s order is forceful and opens the door to future sporting problems for Barcelona in the event of a conviction. “The crime of bribery has been consummated once the payment has been made, whether or not the systemic corruption of Spanish arbitration due to such payments is demonstrated,” the resolution reads.
The new accusation (which adds to the trail of crimes for which the club and two of its former presidents are already being investigated) is based on two legs. Although bribery is a crime committed by officials, the judge maintains, based on Supreme Court jurisprudence, that the former member “performed public functions” due to his position in the CTA.
Among these “public functions” that the instructor grants to Enríquez Negreira are qualifying the referees as well as deciding which referees were promoted to the First Division or relegated to the Second each season. During the 18 years that the former referee was in the CTA, Barça paid him. Once he left office, the payments stopped.
“By logical deduction – the judge states in his order – the payments made by FC Barcelona satisfied the interests of the club in view of their duration and the annual increase.”
Having established this hypothesis, the judge concludes: “The payments produced the arbitration effects desired by FC Barcelona, in such a way that there must have been inequality in the treatment with other teams and the consequent systemic corruption in the Spanish arbitration as a whole.” Next, the judge clarifies that the Civil Guard’s investigations “may confirm the findings obtained by logical inference” regarding arbitration fixing and “systemic” corruption.
The new leap in the investigation that investigates whether the 7 million that the entity paid to the former referee for almost 20 years sought to influence the referees has arrived the same day that agents of the Civil Guard search the CTA headquarters in the Spanish Football Federation of Las Rozas in search of documents that confirm the initial hypothesis of the investigations.
The judge had already agreed at the beginning of September to urge the Federation to send the questionnaire carried out by the Technical Committee of Referees to all the professional referees of the arbitration group and their responses.
The judge also requested the circulars and communications by email, letter or messages exchanged between the Committee, the federation officials and the referees “in relation” to Negreira and his son, as well as the report from the Federation’s integrity department sent to the UEFA on the case.