Laporta: No coincidence over timing of allegations made against Barca

By Sports Desk February 15, 2023

Barcelona president Joan Laporta thinks it is "no coincidence" allegations that the club made large payments to a former vice-president of Spain's Technical Committee of Referees have been made now.

Radio station Ser Catalunya on Wednesday claimed Barca paid €1.4million to a company part-owned by Jose María Enriquez Negreira between 2016 and 2018.

Former LaLiga referee Negreira held his role with the Royal Spanish Football Federation from 1994 to 2018.

It is alleged Barca wanted to ensure "that there would be complete neutrality" in refereeing decisions affecting the Catalan club.

Barca responded with a statement on Wednesday saying they had hired the services of an external consultant that supplied the club's technical secretaries with reports in video format of youth players from other clubs in Spain.

The Blaugrana added that "the relationship with that supplier extended to technical reports related to professional refereeing in order to complement the information requested by the first and second team coaching staff. This a common practice among professional football clubs."

Barca revealed they 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."

Laporta believes it is no coincidence allegations have been aimed at the club while they are sitting pretty at the top of LaLiga and preparing to face Manchester United in a Europa League play-off on Thursday.

"It's no coincidence that this information comes out now," he said. "FC Barcelona in the past had contracted the services of an external consultant to obtain reports from players in the lower categories of Spanish football, and arbitration advice, which is a service that other Spanish clubs hire.

"The news is surprising and it is no coincidence that is has come out now. Any tendentious interpretation that insinuates things that are not will receive a proportional response from the club, we will defend the honour and interests of FC Barcelona."

Barca head coach Xavi said during a press conference: "The club has made a statement, so in line with the club, [I have] no more [to say]. They are years in which I was not in the club, but I defend it."

Related items

  • Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted

    Trent Alexander-Arnold admits England's players agreed with Gary Lineker's controversial description of the Three Lions' Euro 2024 performances as "s***".

    Lineker hit out at England's display in a 1-1 group-stage draw with Denmark on his podcast, The Rest is Football, in comments that attracted a fierce response from captain Harry Kane.

    Kane responded by saying former England players in the media had a "responsibility" when it came to discussing the national team, calling on them to be more supportive.

    Alexander-Arnold, however, says many in the camp agreed with Lineker's criticism and feels some used it as motivation as the Three Lions grew into the tournament, finishing as runners-up to Spain.

    "We had all seen it and heard it and felt it," the Liverpool ace told The Daily Mirror. "We all knew that we could be playing and performing better. 

    "It is never nice for someone to point that out but everyone deep down knew it within ourselves, too.

    "It was something we were already thinking about, we knew we needed to be better. We had to add that to our performances, some players may have used that as motivation."

    England created chances worth just 6.15 expected goals (xG) in their seven games in Germany, with only Scotland (0.32), Serbia (0.7), Slovenia (0.81), Albania (0.82) and Italy (0.84) averaging a lower xG figure per game than their 0.88.

    The Three Lions needed a stoppage-time overhead kick from Jude Bellingham to overcome Slovakia in the last 16, a penalty shoot-out to advance against Switzerland in the quarter-finals and a last-minute Ollie Watkins winner to beat the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

    After England's dramatic run ended with a 2-1 final loss to Spain, manager Gareth Southgate announced his resignation following eight years at the helm.

    Alexander-Arnold believes the Three Lions' aim for the 2026 World Cup must be to finally get over the line, promising the squad will give their all for Southgate's successor.

    "Everyone has a high expectation with England now and rightly so, it is true of us as players," he added.

    "We feel we should be winning tournaments, that is the goal and standard we have set ourselves. That will be there for the new manager."

  • Bayern sporting director Eberl suggests Kimmich future in doubt Bayern sporting director Eberl suggests Kimmich future in doubt

    Bayern Munich sporting director Max Eberl has suggested Joshua Kimmich's future at the club could be in question, saying no player is guaranteed a regular starting place.

    Kimmich has entered the final 12 months of his contract with Bayern, who he joined in 2015 and has helped win eight Bundesliga titles and one Champions League.

    Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been linked with a move for the 29-year-old, who endured a difficult 2023-24 campaign.

    Kimmich reportedly had a strained relationship with former Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel, as the club saw their 11-year stranglehold on the Bundesliga title ended by Bayer Leverkusen.

    Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Eberl hinted every player in the Bayern squad must prove themselves ahead of Vincent Kompany's first season in charge.

    "Joshua is a very good player, but it is generally true that professional football is a competitive sport," Eberl said. 

    "We cannot say to any player; 'Hey, you are the one who is going to play.

    "I'm just saying what applies to everyone. We have exciting players in all positions and therefore many alternatives."

    Bayern strengthened their midfield options by clinching a deal for Fulham's Joao Palhinha earlier this month, having already signed Michael Olise from Crystal Palace.

  • Rangers 0-2 Manchester United: Diallo and Hugill secure Red Devils' first pre-season win Rangers 0-2 Manchester United: Diallo and Hugill secure Red Devils' first pre-season win

    Manchester United claimed their first victory of pre-season with a 2-0 win over Rangers at Murrayfield.

    Amad Diallo and Joe Hugill were on target for Erik ten Hag's side, who bounced back from their 1-0 defeat by Rosenborg last time out.

    The Red Devils, whose starting XI included new signing Leny Yoro and the returning Jadon Sancho, went close with young striker Ethan Wheatley calling Jack Butland into action, while Diallo was narrowly off target from a free-kick.

    The latter broke the deadlock four minutes before half-time, cutting inside from the right wing before flashing a shot into Butland's bottom-right corner.

    Sancho shot over from close range before United doubled their lead 19 minutes from time. Maxi Oyedele provided a neat throughball for fellow substitute Hugill, who brilliantly fired home first time off the underside of the crossbar.

    Andre Onana denied Ridvan Yilmaz's acrobatic effort later on to preserve a clean sheet for Ten Hag's side, who will travel to Los Angeles to face Arsenal next week.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.