Barcelona president Joan Laporta has responded to the referee payment allegations levelled against the club.
Earlier this year, the Blaugrana were found to have paid a total of €7.3 million between 2001 and 2018 to a company owned by the ex-vice-president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee, Jose Mara Enriquez Negreira.
No formal charges have been filed yet against Barca, but FIFA and UEFA are continuing their investigations to get to the root of the matter.
However, Barcelona insist that the payments made were to receive scouting reports of referees and that in itself, is not a crime.
“Throughout its 123-year history, FC Barcelona has always been a model of fair play, both on and off the field,” Laporta said in a press conference earlier today.
“If we have won for so many decades, it has undoubtedly been a result of effort, talent and knowledge.
“I reiterate with all my resolve, I am convinced that FC Barcelona has not committed any crime of sports-related corruption.
“I hope that sooner rather than later, it is fully exonerated – this is one of the most ferocious attacks in our history.
“I ask FC Barcelona supporters to be as united as ever in defence of our crest, our essence, and our ownership model, which is that of a club owned by all of its members.
“Consulting on technical-refereeing issues does not constitute any type of illegal act.”
While Barcelona are in the middle of a messy situation off the pitch, the La Liga giants are certainly enjoying better fortunes on it as they close in on yet another league title.
Despite a disappointing 0-0 draw against Getafe yesterday which saw Xavi Hernandez’s men drop points for the second game running, they still sit 11 points clear of nearest challengers Real Madrid with just nine matches of the season remaining.
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