Josep María Bartomeu: «I cut off Negreira’s tap; Laporta quadrupled his salary”

The leak about the agreement that Barcelona had with the former vice-president of the referees, José Maria Enríquez Negreira, which involved a disbursement of 1.4 million euros between 2016 and 2018 due to a series of reports that the former referee and his son made for the club, it has called into question the reputation of the refereeing establishment and the legitimacy of the titles won by the team during those years. This case lived its penultimate chapter this Tuesday with the publication of the burofax that Enríquez Negreira sent to Josep Maria Bartomeu in 2019 and in which he assured him that “if there is no agreement, all the irregularities will come out.” In the document published by El Mundo, he asks the then president for an urgent meeting after he terminated the agreement with his company Dasnil and threatens him with “legal proceedings” and causing “scandals” that harm the club. “I am very calm because I was the one who cut off this service,” Josep Maria Bartomeu insists on making clear in an interview with ABC. The former president attends this newspaper to shed light on all the shadows generated and explain in detail the agreement between Dasnil 95, the Enríquez family and the club. And to begin with, he makes it clear: “I have no dealings with Mr. Enríquez Negreira and I have never met with him.” And he adds: «We will have met at some time in the Federation, but the only thing we have crossed has been a greeting. I never met with him, except that for this man to meet in a corridor is to maintain a meeting ». The Catalan businessman talks about the burofax episode. «I remember that he came to me, but I paid no attention to him. I immediately referred it to the club’s legal services and it was never heard from again. I don’t know what they did because I ignored the issue. And evidently, I never met with Mr. Negreira. Of course, he points out that the complaints and threats from the former referee came from afar. «This burofax is from 2019, but in March and April 2018, when we ended the relationship that Barça had with his company, he called me telling me that we were playing with his family’s money… The club did not play with money from nobody, he simply stopped having the services of his son, who was the one who made the reports because it was decided that from then on they would be made by an internal department of the club. And I no longer spoke to him or had any more news until the burofax arrived, “explains the former president, who adds:” When the episode of the call happened, his son told us that nothing was wrong and that we should not pay attention to him. Bartomeu also explains the reasons why it was decided to end the relationship with Negreira. «In 2018 a time of cuts began to clean up the club’s economy. Pep Segura, then general manager of club football, and Oscar Grau, general manager, told me that this service cost a lot of money and it was decided to cancel it. It was then that Negreira’s first threat was made and when Bartomeu discovered that the former referee was behind the company that billed them. «I didn’t know who Javier Enríquez was until one day he was introduced to me in the Camp Nou box, but I didn’t know that he was the son of the vice president of the CTA. It was 2015 and they only tell me that he was the person who made the reports, I greet him and tell him that the technicians are very happy with his work. And he is already », he explains. In his conversation with ABC, Bartomeu is upset by the insinuations that are being poured out about the club. «It seems that with this service we were asking for more penalties in favor or that we wanted to condition the decisions of the referees and this is not the case. This gentleman had zero power among the referees », he assures. And he refers to the prices that were paid. Between 2003 and 2018, the years in which Barça worked with Dasnil 95, the company registered revenue of 4.7 million euros. Between 2003 and 2009, the amount entered was 198,000 euros. And since 2010, the year Sandro Rosell became president, the amount has grown to 300,000 euros. In 2016, the figure would already exceed half a million euros (567,136). «This contract was already made since the time of Núñez, Gaspart and the first stage of Laporta. I didn’t even see the invoices because they were passed directly, “he points out, although he lets it fall that” when Laporta arrived at the club the invoices were close to 150,000 euros and when Sandro was appointed president, they were much more than half a million euros; The only thing I can say is that I cut off Negreira’s tap and Laporta had quadrupled his salary, he should explain it ». The former manager was summoned by the Prosecutor’s Office last Monday to testify and there he was able to see all the invoices, from 2001 to 2018, and the increase after Laporta’s arrival at the club. However, those years will not be investigated because fiscally the review time has already prescribed. This version of Bartomeu coincides with several Catalans from the environment contacted by this newspaper, who were surprised by Laporta’s quick response when the scandal broke and his intention to divert attention by denouncing an attempt to destabilize the team. Related news standard Yes Football Barça, two years without a single penalty against Sergi Font standard No Negreira threatened Barcelona with revealing all “irregularities” ABC Bartomeu insists, who wants ABC readers to be clear that “we never ask him for anything to the referees» and reveals that he was the one who personally mediated with the Federation to complain about the arbitrations when he felt that they harmed the team. «I met with Villar and Rubiales to complain. I personally went to the Federation but it was of little use because they told me that the referees were an independent body… », he admits. The goal canceled by Mateu Lahoz to Messi for an offside that was not against Atlético and that cost a League or the ghost goal against Betis were some of the actions that led to Bartomeu’s visit to the Federation. And the then president supported his complaints with the viewing of videos that Javier Enríquez made for him. «The reports he made to us were from the point of view of arbitration. It was a written document and a DVD, for all the matches of the first team and the subsidiary. It was an arbitration analysis. When he had to go to Madrid, he would tell Zubizarreta, Robert Fernández… whoever was in charge, and he would ask Javier Enríquez for a video, who was in charge of making all the videos ».


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