The Negreira case is starting to smell rotten

The Negreira case is starting to smell rotten

J.Mª Casanovas
| sport

The 'Negreira case' has two distinct readings. On the one hand, it is unjustifiable and indefensible that Barça paid 7.3 million to Enriquez Negreira for seventeen years when he was vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees. A historic mistake that is being paid for dearly. A monumental botch-up that leaves the club scarred and marked. The excuse of the verbal reports is typical of a swindler who was never a public official. Just a low-life speculator. A little person who cheated Barça and betrayed the refereeing class. The unfortunate thing is that they fell into the trap and too many presidents looked the other way. Sometimes it is better to admit a mistake than to try to justify it with lame arguments.

On the other hand, Barça is a victim of the situation when this unfortunate story is turned into a weapon against the club with targeted and orchestrated campaigns. Let's not forget that the case is time-barred in sporting terms and that, in criminal terms, experts say that the proceedings will end up being shelved in a few years' time for lack of evidence. Every time the Public Prosecutor's Office or the judge makes a pronouncement, a controversy is stirred up and the social networks are poisoned. All that was missing was for Sevilla to join the campaign on Friday by not attending the institutional lunch or the box in a gesture that was out of place and out of context.

We are facing a problem that damages the image of Barça and Spanish football. A recurring issue that Madrid is stirring up with resentment and bitterness. An investigation that no matter how many searches the Guardia Civil carry out, they will not be able to prove the unprovable. Barça is guilty of paying the vice-president of the CTA, true, but it is not guilty of having bought referees because this never happened. Negreira kept the money and who knows with whom he distributed it.

The case smells rotten, to talk about corruption and bribery without evidence is a dirty war. As if that were not enough, there has been a change of script. Judge Aguirre, with great levity, claims that "the payments achieved the desired arbitration effects". This is a serious accusation, as one cannot prejudge unproven facts. If until now Barça was accused of sporting corruption, now it is accused of bribery, a more serious offence. The club is already preparing an appeal. A complex and murky case which, apart from smelling bad, gives off a bad image. Unfortunately in this country, justice is slow and unreliable, as former president Sandro Rosell experienced. When you remember this terrible injustice, two years in jail without evidence or guilt, you realise that justice is not the same for everyone.

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