La Liga president Javier Tebas has revealed that he does not believe Barcelona paid referees in the ongoing Negreira scandal.
The Catalan club are under investigation by Spanish authorities and UEFA over allegations that they made payments totalling €7.3 million to former vice-president of the Referee’s Committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, between 2001 and 2018.
They have since been officially charged with corruption and have received fierce criticism from rival clubs and supporters due to their off-field actions.
Tebas has been at the forefront of the fierce criticism aimed at Barcelona and was the one who invited UEFA to investigate Barca.
However, the La Liga chief has now stated he doesn’t think the Catalan club paid referees. However, he maintains that the Camp Nou side attempted to influence match officials.
“La Liga cannot look the other way in cases like Negreira,” Tebas said via Tribuna.
“I do not think that Barcelona paid referees, but there are indications that they wanted to influence them through these payments. The mere intention can be a punishable offence.”
“I haven’t talked to many other presidents, but from what I have understood, Laporta has not relieved the doubts about these amounts paid to Enrique Negreira’s family, albeit that he said it was for reports.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Joan Laporta held a press conference on Monday in which he addressed the Negreira case and presented evidence that Barca did receive reports from Negreira’s son.
Nevertheless, the most important thing is that the investigation has not yet discovered any evidence of misconduct from Barca. Therefore, at the very least, Barca deserves the presumption of innocence that Laporta asks for.