Barcelona, Spain, Feb 15 (EFE).- Barcelona provincial prosecutors have opened a corruption probe into a company linked to a former senior official at Spain’s referee committee (CTA) that had accepted over a million euros in payments from FC Barcelona in the space of three years.
The probe was launched into DASNIL 95 SL, a firm belonging to former referee and CTA vice-president José María Enríquez Negreira, after an inspection detected payments worth 1.4 million euros paid by the Catalan club between 2016-18, SER Catalunya reported Wednesday.
Barça allegedly paid the company 532,728 euros in 2016, 541,752 euros in 2017 and 318,200 euros in 2018, the year Enríquez Negreira left the CTA.
Former Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu was cited by the news outlet as saying he put an end to the payments as part of a cost-cutting policy but that they had occurred from “at least 2003.”
In a statement Wednesday, the club said it had previously contracted external consultants to provide reports on youth players from other clubs in Spain and that the “relationship” with the company had extended to technical reports on refereeing.
“This is a common practice among professional football clubs,” it said.
“FC Barcelona regrets that this information has been released precisely when the team has hit its best form of the season,” adding that it would be taking “legal action against those who are trying to tarnish the club’s image with possible insinuations against its good reputation that could be caused by the release of such information.”EFE