Barcelona: Real Madrid back corruption charges against La Liga rivals over payments to referees’ official

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Real Madrid say they will support the corruption charges faced by Barcelona over money paid to the vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee.

Real are prepared to “defend their interests” when proceedings are opened.

On Friday, a court heard Barcelona have been indicted for “corruption”, “breach of trust” and “false business records”.

Prosecutors allege Barca paid 8.4m euros (£7.4m) to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira and his company in return for favourable refereeing decisions.

Barcelona, who deny any wrongdoing, acknowledged the payments were made to Dasnil 95 between 2001 and 2018.

The Catalan club described the company as “an external technical consultant” which was paid to compile video reports related to professional referees “with the aim of complementing the information required by the coaching staff”.

Former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as Negreira, have also been indicted alongside the club.

The lawsuits were brought by the Barcelona public prosecutor’s office.

“FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and in exchange for money, the latter carries out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in decisions by the referees,” prosecutors said.

A senior Barcelona official said the club had expected the prosecutors’ complaint and described it as “nothing more than an absolutely preliminary investigative hypothesis”.

Real Madrid held a board meeting on Sunday to discuss the issue, outlining their position after having “inspected the serious accusations”.

“Real Madrid wishes to express its utmost concern regarding the gravity of the facts and reiterates its confidence in the legal system,” said the reigning Spanish champions.

“The club has agreed that, in defence of its legitimate rights, it will appear at the trial when the judge opens it up to the affected parties.”

Barcelona president Joan Laporta responded by insisting the club is the “victim of a campaign” to “harm its honourability”, urging fans to remain “calm”.

“It is no surprise and we will defend Barca and prove that the club is innocent,” he tweeted

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