The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has provided European football governing body UEFA information about the investigation into alleged payments by Barcelona to a former refereeing official, the RFEF said Thursday.
“UEFA has requested information from the RFEF, the RFEF has replied and has provided all the information it has at the moment,” RFEF secretary general Andreu Camps told a news conference at the federation’s headquarters in Las Rozas.
Camps said the RFEF “have offered to take any other action that UEFA itself tells us to take.”
Accompanied by the president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), Luis Medina Cantalejo, Camps said the RFEF Integrity Department is studying the “Negreira case” after receiving the information they requested from Barcelona, the CTA and the RFEF.
Camps said the RFEF has provided all the information requested by the Barcelona public prosecutor’s office, which is investigating alleged tax irregularities against a company owned by a former refereeing official concerning payments from Barcelona.
El Mundo newspaper reported in February that Barcelona had paid around 6.5 million euros (6.9 million USD) since 2001 to the company Dasnil 95 owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a CTA vice-president between 1994 and 2018, to advise the club on refereeing matters.
The affair has cast a shadow over the refereeing establishment that the current CTA chief wanted to clear up.
“There is an anti-referee climate and people are saying that (referees) were bought, there is no evidence, no proof to say that a referee is dishonest,” said Medina Cantalejo.
“If there is anything, it is people who have allegedly taken advantage of their position to make a profit.”
Both Camps and Medina Cantalejo said all the referees except one responded to a questionnaire, asking if they had had any kind of contact with Negreira or his son.
“We called him (this referee) to ask him what was going on and to this day he has not responded to a request from his company, which is the Federation,” said Medina Cantalejo, without revealing the name of the referee in question.
During the press conference, Spanish international referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez read out a statement on behalf of his fellow referees, in which he expressed “disgust” at the case.
Sanchez Martinez insisted the alleged actions of one person “cannot tarnish our image and the honour” of Spanish referees.