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Barcelona found NOT GUILTY of bribery ‘after paying ex-referee chief up to £6m for consultancy work’, but club could still be in hot water on other charges…

Barcelona have escaped going to trial as Spanish authorities continue to investigate allegations the club made payments to the then-vice president of the Spanish referee’s committee. 

The Spanish club were under investigation from the Integrity Unit over alleged payments made across three seasons to DASNIL 95, a company owned by former match official Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira during Josep Bartomeu’s presidency.

It is alleged that Negreira, who would go on to become the vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees after retiring, was paid €532,728 (£473,340) in 2016, €541,752 (£481,358) in 2017, and then a further €318,200 (£282,915) in 2018.

However, the courts have ruled that the club will now not be trialed under any bribery charges, due to lack of evidence and because Negreira did not constitute a public official in his role, as he was operating in a private organisation.

Responding to the dismissal Barcelona released a statement declaring they were happy with the outcome. 

Barcelona will not face any trial amid claims they made questionable payments to future president of referees 

Barcelona president Joan Laporta vowed to defend the club's name during the process

Barcelona president Joan Laporta vowed to defend the club’s name during the process

Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira (left) is seen arriving to court in 2023 to give evidence

Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira (left) is seen arriving to court in 2023 to give evidence 

It read: ‘FC Barcelona shows its satisfaction with the meaning of the resolution issued today by the Barcelona Court to the extent that it confirms the approach defended by the Club and rejects the hypothesis of the alleged crime of bribery. 

‘We maintain our conviction that through Justice the facts that are the subject of the complaint can be definitively clarified and the absolute innocence of the Club can be proven.’ 

The ruling is of a huge relief to the club, who faced the possibility of being banned by UEFA from competing in the Champions League.

Barcelona were at risk of being banned from UEFA competitions if they were found guilty

Barcelona were at risk of being banned from UEFA competitions if they were found guilty 

With reports the club were already considering alternative competitions outside their domestic calendar in Asia if they were banned from competing in Europe. 

Despite the ruling, Barcelona are still not completely out of the woods as the club is still being investigated for a sporting corruption charge, as well as ‘dishonest administration.’ 

However, given that they won’t face any charges of bribery, there may not be enough sufficient evidence to support these claims. 



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