Former Barcelona Presidential candidate and Vice-President Toni Freixa has defended Barcelona’s innocence in El Caso Negreira, but has admitted that it be handled better by Barcelona.
Freixa was part of Joan Laporta’s first board between 2003 and 2005, and then again under Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, before presenting himself as a candidate for election in 2015 and 2021.
Speaking to Cadena Cope (via Marca), Freixa was asked about the Negreira case, and pointed out that other teams, including the likes of Getafe and Real Madrid have former referees on their books.
“And hiring a former referee and have him on the payroll, is that okay with you? Yes indeed. When you stopped refereeing, did you no longer have any kind of relationship or influence within the collective? Don’t you have friends anymore?”
Naturally that does not equate to an investigation of corruption, and those referees were not still part of the Referees Committee. Freixa also claimed that he was unaware of the matter, in contrast to other reports.
“I didn’t know, of course I didn’t. To me that Barca is advised on arbitration matters, exactly the same as the rest of the clubs do, it seems excellent to me. It’s that Barca did not pay the number two of the referees, they paid a company.”
He then went on defend Barcelona’s innocence until proven guilty, but was also aware that the lack of explanation from the club was not helping matters.
“The conclusion has automatically been reached that a crime of corruption between individuals has been committed here in the sports field. That is the journalistic, media conclusion.”
“The silence of the former presidents certainly does not help at all, we can agree on that. I would like President Laporta, former President Bartomeu, former President Rosell and former President Gaspart to even hold a press conference together, the four of them, to explain to the members the money that was spent on these services. It would go very well, because it would silence There are a lot of doubts. As long as this is not done, there are many people who want to discredit and question the honor of Barcelona.
Like Gerard Pique before him, he also questioned whether it was a smart way of going about corruption, if they were to.
“If someone can believe that with less than 0.1% of the budget, because what was paid is equivalent to that, they can corrupting an entire competition, is that they have no idea what this is about. Everyone knows that referees have not been bought here, everyone knows that.”
Freixa naturally has his affections with Barcelona, but also rivals within the club. It is no surprise that he defended the club, but singled out his rivals during his criticism.
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