Former Spain coach Luis Enrique and current Athletic Club coach Ernesto Valverde are due to testify as witnesses in connection with the Negreira case, according to Spanish outlet El País.
Both men could be included in the Public Prosecutor’s complaint against Barcelona in relation to the refereeing reports; both will have to explain whether they knew about the existence of the dealings.
Barça paid out, according to official sources, a total of €7.3m to the then vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees, José María Enríquez Negreira, between 2001 and 2018. In his statement to the Treasury during a tax inspection, the former referee confirmed that Barça paid him for “verbal advice” with the intention of ensuring they received “neutral” refereeing.
The former Barça coach between 2017 and 2020, Valverde, has publicly said that he was unaware of the existence of such reports: “At Barcelona, I didn’t even know they existed. I had no idea about all this”.
The president of Barcelona, Joan Laporta, has stated his position on his personal Twitter profile: “Culers, stay calm. Barça is innocent of what it is accused of and the victim of a campaign against its honour in which everyone is now involved. No surprise, we will defend Barça and prove the Club’s innocence”.
Kieran Quaile | GSFN