Barcelona president Joan Laporta held a press conference on Monday to offer an explanation of the Negeira Case that has dominated headlines for weeks.
The Catalans are being investigated for making payments to José María Enríquez Negreira, the former vice-president of the referee committee in Spain, over several years.
Laporta has been promising to give Barcelona’s side of the story for a while now and has finally spoken out about the scandal.
Here are the main points:
Laporta on Negreira Scandal
I already said when the ‘Negreira affair’ came out that it was no coincidence. I have more information and I can now confirm that FC Barcelona has never carried out any action whose purpose or intention is to adulterate the competition in order to gain a sporting advantage. The tax agency has not been able to demonstrate that the payments made could have affected any result. And they have not been able to demonstrate it because it was not possible.
Laporta on Real Madrid
Everyone knows that Real Madrid is a club historically favored by refereeing errors, the regime’s club. For seven decades the referees’ presidents have been former Madrid members, former players or former directors. Sometimes, all at the same time. For 70 years, those who have appointed the referees who had to deliver justice. That this club appears in the best period of our club is an unprecedented exercise in cynicism. Hopefully this trial will expose them.
Laporta talks smear campaign
This campaign comes when Barça begins to come out of a tunnel. We have saved Barça financially. We are competing well too. I see here a clear reason to try to destabilize us sportingly. That is why we have to be more united than ever.
Coincidentally, the campaign also explodes when Barcelona does not sign the agreement with CVC. We do not bow to their interests. We prefer other much better options for Barça’s economic interests. It is evident that this is no coincidence.
This campaign also occurs when Barça is working for a new European competition format. They are trying to get UEFA to join this public lynching. It is no coincidence. This campaign is gaining momentum just as FCB awards the Camp Nou works to a international company. All these coincidences explain why.
Laporta on payments
This sum of money was paid over 17 years and it’s important to put things in context and the studies were carried out over a long time. The person who mainly offered these services was Negreira’s son. Negreira had zero ability to select match officials or influence the outcome of games. These hypotheses that Negreira could swing games is totally false.
Laporta on what was in the reports
Well, it’s basically technical stuff ... talks about the profile of the referee, what games the ref in question had overseen, what was their manner of officiating, very detailed information. Before you couldn’t go to ‘Youtube’ and see all the videos you wanted. Scouting was very different. To those who talk frivolously, I would tell them to tell me the goal, the play, the match or the suspicious action of referee favoritism. They won’t be able to say it because it hasn’t happened.
Laporta on Tebas and Cefarin
I mentioned Tebas who has been well out of order with his comments. I think he has been unprofessional with his comments and many of these declarations are totally false. Tebas should have been there to put out the flames but instead he has added fuel to the fire.
Mr. Ceferin, except for some initial statements, has opted for prudence and has not entered Mr. Tebas’s rag. What I have is that UEFA will rule when it is the judicial moment. And since it will be shown that there is no crime, it will come to nothing.