Former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has vehemently denied all accusations relating to the “Negreira case,” insisting that referees did not favor Barcelona during his presidency.
The case stems from payments made to the former vice-president of the Referees’ Committee, José María Enríquez Negreira.
Rosell said that statistics showed that Barcelona were more likely to be hurt by referees than helped in La Liga.
“I remember a league title that was stolen from us, that the referee made a mistake in Messi’s goal and they took La Liga from us,” he said.
This is in reference to a match in May 2014, when Barcelona were level with Atlético de Madrid 1-1 in the second half. Lionel Messi scored what should have been a title-winning goal on the last matchday, but it was disallowed for offside. However, replays showed that the ball bounced off a defender, not an attacker, meaning Messi would’ve been onside no matter what.
The match ended 1-1 and Atlético, not Barcelona, won La Liga.
Rosell gave his version of what happened in the Negreira case.
“Enríquez Negreira made referee reports. He made about a hundred reports a year, which if you divide it by 400,000 euros per year, that’s 4,000 euros per report. They were in the technical secretariat at the service of the coaching staff. as another tool for analysis. If I told you what the person who cleans the players’ shoes earns, it is much more.
“A very simple thing has been made into a mess. Did he make referee reports? Yes. Was he paid? Yes. What influence did he have? Zero.
“They say he charged 7 million, but that’s for many years of work. What counts is that he charged 4,000 euros per report, if we were to distribute it to 20 refs, how can you bribe them? With 200 euros?
“The RFEF already said that he had no influence on the referees.”