Joan Laporta refutes allegations that FC Barcelona attempted to adulterate La Liga

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta spoke the media this Monday morning to offer the club’s version of events surrounding the so-called ‘Negreira Case’ that has been receiving such widespread press coverage in recent weeks. In an 35 minute introduction, he defended the club’s innocence, saying “I am utterly convinced that FC Barcelona never did anything with the intention or purpose of adulterating the competition in order to gain any kind of sporting advantage-“

“This claim is categorically supported by the fact that the Tax Office, in a document addressed to the public prosecutor, has declared its inability to demonstrate that the payments made by FC Barcelona to companies related with the former vice-chairman of the Referees Committee had anything at all to do with the choice of match officials. It could not demonstrate that because it wasn’t possible.”


Joan Laporta, who began his speech by defending the club’s 123 year history and the honesty of the titles won in recent decades, continued by explaining that “maintaining relations on technical and refereeing matters with companies that employ people with experience in the football industry and a long history working with referees is under no circumstances an illegal activity and less so a crime.”

“Professional counselling is a common practice among all big football clubs and at Barça the practice is clear and transparent, with all the invoices broken down by items. There was never any intention to hide anything.”

Laporta wished to make it clear that had any individual or organisation made use of this context to act out of self-interest in an unlawful or criminal manner, then this would be another matter entirely. “If that had happened, the club would have been the first to act in defence of the club’s honour” he said.

When it came to questions from the floor, Laporta claimed that “under my presidency there have been no hands under the table. I can guarantee that because there is simply no doubt about it.”

Joan Laporta, mostrant un dels informes.
Joan Laporta, mostrant un dels informes.

629 technical-refereeing reports, 43 CDs and 4 miscellaneous reports

The president also wished to present the results of the Preliminary Compliance Report, which ensures the legality of all of the club’s operations and detects any possible irregularities in what it does. The inquiry has found 629 technical-refereeing reports, 43 CDs and 4 miscellaneous reports, not to mention all the older documents that are no longer available due to the common policy of destroying documents after 5 years in storage. That is why no documents from before 2013 are available.


Asked about the amounts paid, Laporta pointed out that these are the total figures over 18 years “and these reports were important and necessary.” Asked about the purpose of “seeking neutrality”, the president insisted that this was a personal hypothesis proposed by Mr Negreira as vouched for by the Tax Office.

Laporta also spoke of the importance of the principle of innocence until proven guilty, saying that “the Justice department should be allowed to do its job and in the name of FC Barcelona, I demand the utmost responsibility from the persons in charge of the institutions representing Spanish, European and world football, as well as the media.” He commented that he was dismayed that people who should be acting prudently for the good of football, citing the example of Liga president Javier Tebas, have been the first to appear in the media saying things before the events have been clarified.

But he also thanked other football authorities for their understanding. In this regard, he singled out Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Federation, José Manuel Franco, president of the Higher Council for Sport, and Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA. As for UEFA, he was thankful that the governing body of European football has not been publicly lynching the club in the way that certain others have been doing. “Recently, Ceferin has been behaving in a matter that befits his position” said Laporta. “We are in contact with UEFA and they know that certain false hypotheses are being examined.”

He also clarified that this matter is notwithstanding the clear difference in option regarding the possible creation of a European Super League, which is another matter entirely.


Laporta also reiterated his comments of a few weeks earlier when the Negreira Case first emerged. “There is perpetual plot to tarnish FC Barcelona-s reputation, to destabilise the club and even control or take it over. Barça is inherently Catalan, and Catalan openness to the world is something that FC Barcelona has always supported. And this has been represented by its fans worldwide, but there are certain powers/that/be, but thankfully not all, who resent this.”

Real Madrid’s position

Laporta ended with some words about Real Madrid, saying that “we are talking about a club that has historically close ties to political, financial and sporting power. For seven decades and almost without interruption, the presidents of the Referees Committee have been former Real Madrid directors or players, sometimes the two things at the same time. In other words, for 70 years, Real Madrid players, directors and supporters were selecting the referees who had to make decisions on the field.”

He admitted that relations between Barça and Madrid “have been soured by this” and that it was an unfortunate decision by the rival club to get involved in the affair by presenting allegations of its own.




Arab Observer

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