Barcelona under probe for allegedly bribing referee

Barcelona has been charged with bribery for allegedly paying €7 million to companies linked with former vice president of the refereeing committee, José María Enríquez Negreira and his son, Javier Enríquez Romero.

According to Spanish news agency, EFE, judicial sources confirmed the development, adding that former Barça presidents, Josep María Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell also stand accused of the same charges.

The La Liga side had previously been charged with alleged corruption in sports, corruption in business, false administration and the falsification of commercial documents.

Police also searched the referees’ office at the Royal Spanish Football Federation [RFEF] in Madrid on Thursday, to retrieve documentation in relation to the case.

A complaint was lodged by prosecutors in March against Barça, their former presidents and the Negreira in March. These bribery charges could now speed up a process that has been ongoing since February when the payments were first revealed.

Meanwhile in other news…

Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, recently shared a conversation he had with Lionel Messi, where the Argentine revealed why he snubbed a return to the team.

Messi said he passed over the chance to rejoin the La Liga club because of how “difficult” his spell at Paris Saint-Germain was.

Laporta made this known during an interview with Mundo Deportivo. The Argentina international, instead, chose to Inter Miami in the Major League Soccer (MLS).

“The player wanted it, the father wanted it, but the rhythms are different. We didn’t want what happened last time.

“He told us that he decided to join Inter Miami because he had spent very difficult seasons in Paris, where he was under a lot of pressure, while in Miami he would be calmer and could think about the national team and that, although he wanted to come to Barça, he didn’t want to spend another year like this,” Barca president said.