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Armed Forces: Barca guilty of reckless spending in Negreira case

Photo credit: Joan Monfort.
Negreira. Photo credit: Joan Monfort.

This article was written in collaboration between Omar Hawwash, Riddhi Nirkhe, and Martin Blakstad.

Developments have occurred in the Negreira case, and they’re not exactly in favor of FC Barcelona.

The Negreira case has been haunting Barcelona for quite a long time, and it shows no signs of stopping, as Barcelona were recently accused of improper spending and availing of shell services.

FC Barcelona is currently the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Spanish public prosecutor’s office for alleged referee payments. The European football’s governing body, UEFA, has also announced that they will be conducting an investigation of their own, with the UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin, stating that “the Negreira case is one of the most serious cases I have seen in football”.

The allegations stem from payments made by the club to the former vice president of the referee committee of Spanish football, José María Enríquez Negreira. between 2001 and 2018. These payments were discovered through an inspection by Spanish tax authorities into a company named DASNIL 95, owned by Negreira and his son, Javier Enríquez. Between 2001 and 2018, the club made payments totaling 7,3 million euros.

The report from the prosecutors was finalized on March 10 this year. It concluded that 59 payments (7,3 million euros in total) were made by Barcelona to DASNIL 95 between January 2014 and June 2018.

José María Negreira, on the other hand, denies that the payments were received in exchange for favorable refereeing decisions in matches. Per the report, Negreira reveals that he only acted as an external consultant for Barcelona.

The developments

The civil guard, a part of Spain’s Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense, has had time to review the case. They have, according to Spanish publication El Mundo, concluded the following:

  • The documents show that Barcelona over the course of 2 decades indeed did pay over 8 million euros for what the Spanish Armed Forces deem shell services; this means they paid for services that superficially appear as one thing, but in actuality are another.
  • Negreira, despite receiving the exorbitant amount of money from FC Barcelona, did not experience an increase in equity. The money was withdrawn through pay cheques and cash withdrawals exceeding half a million euros.
  • The civil guard believes the technical referees’ committee, the CTA, to be guilty of officiating decisions that didn’t always show impartiality from a sporting perspective

A spreadsheet has also been published by El Mundo, showcasing the payments from FC Barcelona to Negreira through DASNIL 95 SL, Soccercam and Nilsad SCP, attributed to the president in office at the time of payment. Worthy of note is that the civil guard have attributed the ability to promote referees to the ‘collegiate’ role to Negreira, given his power as the VP of the Spanish football’s referee committee at the time. As can be seen on the second column from the utmost right, he was in charge until 2018. When he left office, the payments to the companies coincidentially stopped. The most-right column shows his son, Javier’s history at the time of payment.

The civil guard argues that the salaries in question are only awarded to referees officiating in the Spanish top flight with the prospect of becoming referees at international games. Furthermore, the salaries depend on the CTA, who make the decision, in part based on the amount of games officiated in total.

75% of Barcelona’s payments to Negreira’s companies were made between 2011 and 2018, about 5.3 million euros, when Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu were in charge of the Catalan club.

The case remains open, and the document above is already has already been received by the Investigative Court #1 in Barcelona.