Joan Laporta hits out at 'campaign against Barcelona'

  • Barcelona alleged to have made payments for information and analysis of referees
  • Spanish courts and UEFA conducting separate investigations
  • Laporta has hit back at recent scrutiny

Laporta is not happy
Laporta is not happy / AFP7/GettyImages
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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed that the Negreira case is part of a 'campaign' against the club.

Spanish prosecutors and UEFA are looking into Barça's payments to the former vice-president of Spain's refereeing committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, for extensive information and analysis of match officials.

It's been alleged that Barcelona's transactions could be construed as match-fixing and lead to a ban from the Champions League.

But in a recent interview, Laporta insisted these allegations have hit Barcelona because of the club's refusal to sign La Liga's lucrative deal with private equity firm CVC. Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Club are also opposed to it.

"The Negreira case is a campaign against Barça," Laporta said to Onze. "You have to be self-critical, but it was something we inherited. Getting consultancy on refereeing is not a crime. Barça has never bought a referee, beyond the fact that perhaps we did not sufficiently value what it meant that the son of a former referee gave us advice. This has gotten out of hand, because there is an orchestrated campaign to end up with Barça, to transform Barça into a SAD [a private company].

"I think the Negreira case is linked to the fact that we have not signed with CVC, fortunately, because it is mortgaging Barça for 50 years. It is a fund that has kept 10.95% of the clubs' television rights. It is nothing but a loan.

"We did not see that it was an operation that could benefit us. Being in need, as we were, to save the club, what we did was sell 25 percent of our television rights for €686m and that has saved the club. We have not fixed it entirely, because we still have an operating deficit of €200m that we are attacking with an austerity plan, but what we did not consider was the contract with CVC."


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Laporta then hit back at La Liga president Javier Tebas and accused him of personally benefiting from the deal.

"One of the conditions was that Tebas would stay, first for 15 years and then for eight. His salary doubles that of bank presidents," he added.

"They told us that if we did this deal he would give us fair play, 15%. He told us that if we didn't sign [the deal] we couldn't sign [players] or they would make it more difficult for us. This is in the courts. We said no and they put the squeeze on us.

"You come to the conclusion that Catalonia may be within the state, but even so, some cannot digest that Barcelona are an element of 'Catalanism', and they are trying by all means to take it off us. Thus, the gentlemen of La Liga, those of the CVC and other established powers, what they want is this, but let them know that we are going to keep us defending Barça's interests with every last drop of our blood. We do this because we love Barça."


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