FC Barcelona is one of the largest and most prestigious football clubs in the world. But now the club of national goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen is threatened with an unpleasant process.
Bad news for FC Barcelona again: According to reports from reliable media, the public prosecutor in Spain will file a complaint against the top football club for corruption. This was reported, among others, by the newspaper "El País" and the state television station RTVE, citing the country's judiciary. The club of national goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, which currently leads the Primera División by nine points over champions Real Madrid, is suspected of having influenced referees by paying millions in recent years.
In mid-February, the radio station "Cadena Ser" revealed that the Spanish judicial authorities had initiated investigations into suspected "corruption between private individuals" months ago. The reason: Between 2001 and 2018, Barça is said to have transferred almost seven million euros for so-called consulting services to a company owned by the then Vice President of the CTA Referee Committee, José María Enríquez Negreira. The public prosecutor's office confirmed this information when asked by dpa.
Both representatives of the club and Enríquez Negreira admitted the business connections, but denied the allegation of corruption. Barça's current club president Joan Laporta said weeks ago in a first reaction that he suspected ulterior motives: "It is no coincidence that this information is being published right now, when Barça is doing well." The association has taken advantage of advisory services. But that was "very normal in football at the big clubs," he asserted.
On Tuesday, the club boss assured again: "Barça has never bought referees." Enríquez Negreira was a referee in the first division of Spain between 1977 and 1992 and then vice-president of the CTA between 1994 and 2018. In an interview with "Cadena Ser", the 77-year-old emphasized that as CTA vice-president he had never given FC Barcelona preferential treatment in any decision or referee appointment. His company Dasniel 95 SL verbally advised the club on how the players should behave depending on the referee.