Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti had his say on the Negreira scandal that has engulfed Barcelona.
La Liga giants FC Barcelona has been embroiled in a corruption scandal as they are accused of paying Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees in Spain, £1.4 million from 2016-2018.
The payments were made during Josep Maria Bartomeu’s reign.
When testifying before the Prosecutor’s Office, Negreira denied any illegality and stated that Barcelona never received special consideration from officials on the pitch.
Negreira alleged that the payments were paid for scouting information on players in Spain’s lower leagues and for technical reports on professional referees for advice on how to interact with each particular referee. Josep Bartomeu verified the same thing, saying it was widespread among Spanish clubs. Unfortunately, neither could produce any proof to support their assertions.
It’s a scandal that has shaken Spanish football in recent weeks, with many La Liga clubs publicly expressing their displeasure in a public statement that read,
“Yesterday, during the Division Meeting, most of the La Liga Clubs expressed their deep concern about this case, which they consider to be of the utmost seriousness, for which the proposal for a joint communication received the unanimous support of all the clubs from La Liga SmartBank and all the La Liga Santander clubs except for two, who objected to this joint statement for different reasons.”
Valencia and Real Madrid, Barcelona’s rivals, however, did not involve themselves in the situation.
🚨| Official La Liga statement on Barcelona/ Negreira scandal —— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) February 21, 2023
🗣️ All the Clubs except two (Barca & Real) expressed their deep concern about this case, which they consider to be of the utmost seriousness. pic.twitter.com/aMLO3Oc5y1
When Carlo was asked about the Negreira case in the last post match conference, he was clear about his belief that corruption doesn’t exist.
His words were, “There is no corruption here, or in Italy, or in Europe. The referees make mistakes everywhere and if they make mistakes you just have to accept it.”
“I get angry sometimes, but I am super convinced that at this moment there is no corruption in the world of football.”
Barcelona has dismissed all allegations, albeit they accept the payments were just for referee reports and scouting intelligence. An inquiry is currently underway against Negreira’s firm, which received the cash, but not against Barcelona itself.
If the inquiry determines that Barcelona received preferential treatment from referees as a result of the payments, the club might face severe penalties as warned by La Liga president Javier Tebas. The club might risk a points deduction or, worse, relegation from La Liga.