Barcelona president Joan Laporta has broken his silence on the ‘Negreira case’. The Blaugrana reportedly paid Jose Enriquez Negreira, former president of the refereeing committee, a massive sum of €7.2 million between 2001 and 2018.

Laporta has now broken the silence on the matter and said that it’s a ploy from an evil mind to stain the prestigious club’s name.

He told COPE:

“Some people motivated by envy want to destroy our reputation with bad faith campaigns. The feeling at Barcelona doesn’t get dirty and we will defend the club with all our might.”

Laporta added:

“We’re a club with values. We use the word ‘values’, not to sound good, but because they’re a fundamental part of our model of sporting excellence.”

The Barcelona president further said on the matter:

“I really want to face the scoundrels who’re trying to stain the club.”

Barca reportedly wanted Negreira to allot neutral referees for the club’s matches in return for their alleged payment. The seriousness of the accusations is quite massive to say the least.

Barcelona defender Jules Kounde backed referee over handball decision

Barcelona earned a 1-0 win in their latest La Liga away clash against Athletic Bilbao. Raphinha scored the only goal of the match in the injury time of the first half at San Mames.

It looked like Inaki Williams had equalized for Bilbao in the 87th minute. However, the VAR check ruled out the goal due to a handball from Iker Muniain in the build-up.

Kounde has now claimed that the official was right in his decision. The Frenchman said after the match (via Mundo Deportivo):

“I was disappointed to concede the goal, but it was the right decision. I saw it on television and it’s a handball. Afterwards, there may be controversy and it can be debated, but for me it’s a hand. The referee has made the right decision.”

Speaking about the match, Kounde further added:

“It’s true that lately, we’re having difficulties and we don’t have the capacity to close the games, to get that 2-0 scoreline that gives us more peace of mind. We’ve suffered and we knew it would be difficult and at San Mames, it was always difficult to play.”

Barcelona extended their lead over Real Madrid to nine points at the top of the La Liga table with the win against Bilbao. The Blaugrana will return to action on Sunday (March 19) to face Real Madrid at Camp Nou in a league clash.