Police raided Spain’s football refereeing headquarters as part of a probe into allegations that FC Barcelona paid for favorable decisions, dealing another blow to Spain’s scandal-hit football association. The search was ordered by a judge investigating the case involving payments made to a firm owned by former top refereeing official Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. The raid took place at the offices of the CTA referees’ technical committee located at the RFEF football federation headquarters on the outskirts of Madrid.
Prosecutors suspect that between 2001 and 2018, FC Barcelona paid millions of euros to Negreira’s company Dasnil 95 in exchange for favorable refereeing decisions from corrupt officials. While the club admits making payments to Dasnil, it claims the firm was paid for advising on refereeing matters and denies any wrongdoing.
Magistrate Joaquin Aguirre announced that he would investigate the club and several of its former directors for bribery. The judge stated that it is not disputed that Barcelona paid “one of the CTA’s three vice presidents through intermediary companies.” The payments, which lasted for about 18 years, increased from 70,000 euros a year to 700,000 euros and ceased when Negreira left his position in 2018. Aguirre concluded that the payments satisfied the club’s interests and resulted in refereeing decisions that may have involved unfair treatment of other teams, indicating systemic corruption across Spanish refereeing.
The investigation into the alleged corruption began in 2022 when Spain’s tax authorities identified irregularities in payments made by Dasnil 95 between 2016 and 2018. Prosecutors have named FC Barcelona, Negreira, his son Javier Enriquez, and two of Barcelona’s former presidents, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, in the corruption probe.
The raid on the football refereeing headquarters comes at a time when Spain’s football federation is already grappling with a crisis triggered by the World Cup kiss scandal involving its former chief Luis Rubiales forcibly kissing midfielder Jenni Hermoso.