The Catalan club are not concerned by Thursday's bribery accusations
There is no alarmism at FC Barcelona after Thurday's developments in the 'Negreira' case. The feeling is one of calm because this was a hypothesis that the club's team of lawyers had already been considering and working on for some time.
The judge of a Barcelona court, Joaquín Aguirre, instructor of the 'Negreira case' about Barça's payments to the former referee José María Enríquez Negreira, dictated an order on Thursday in which he attributes to the Catalan entity and to the rest of the investigated parties, among them the former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, the crime of bribery, considering that the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), on which the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) depends, is an entity that performs functions of a public nature, while Enríquez Negreira would have the status of a civil servant.
The judge stressed that in his opinion "we are not dealing with a crime of sporting corruption between private individuals," but with a crime of bribery, which punishes those who request, accept or offer money, gifts or favours in exchange for an act related to the exercise of a public function. In this sense, he distinguishes between passive bribery (Enríquez Negreira and his son) and active bribery, which he attributes to the rest of the accused, including Barça.
Barça's legal services are already working on this new situation. The club are calm because, among other things, "the crime of corruption has been dropped" and they insist that there was never any match-fixing. They believe that as nobody has been able to find any payment to a referee, they are looking for anything else that could harm the club. In addition, they believe that the crime of bribery can fall because in no case is the Federation a public body nor are the referees civil servants.
Former president Bartomeu, like the club, has also received the accusations of bribery and Thursday's search by the Guardia Civil (police) at the referees' headquarters with calm "because they will not find anything because there is nothing," explained the former president.
At this time, the club has no plans to make any public statements on the matter.