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Barcelona president Joan Laporta responds to corruption charges

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has responded to corruption charges against the club.

Prosecutors accuse the Catalans of paying €8.4 million to former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, and his company in return for favourable refereeing decisions.

Barcelona claim they have not done anything wrong, although they acknowledged the payments to Dasnil 95 between 2001 and 2018.

Also indicted are former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell.

However, the current Barcelona president believes the charges are nothing to fear and thinks the club is a target for people who want to bring them down.

Speaking via his Twitter account, Laporta said (via the BBC): “Culers, you can be calm. Barca is innocent of the accusations made against it and is the victim of a campaign, that now involves everyone, to harm its honorability.

“It is no surprise, and we will defend Barca and prove that the club is innocent. Many will be forced to rectify.”

Barcelona maintain they only paid the money to Negreira as an external technical consultant to compile video reports on professional referees. These videos would complement the information required by the coaching staff.

A spokesperson for the La Liga table-toppers claimed they expected the charges and dismissed them as only preliminary investigative hypotheses.

The news brings more headaches for Laporta, who already has his club’s crumbling finances to ponder. Their financial situation has been in tatters since covid-19 ripped into their revenue.

Barcelona had to let go of Lionel Messi despite the Argentine offering to half his salary. They activated several levers to secure funds to make signings last summer.

La Liga president Javier Tebas recently stated that Barcelona could not sign or register new players in the January transfer window.

He also said they could not sign players this summer if they do not raise funds. They need to secure around €170m to appease La Liga.

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