Gerard Pique has stated that Barcelona has not ‘bought referees’ following corruption allegations leveled against the club, adding he would put his hand ‘on the fire’ to swear it did not happen.
Barcelona has been accused of “sporting corruption” after it came to light that the team allegedly gave money to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of Spain’s referees committee, over a period of years.
Between 2001 and 2018, €7 million was allegedly paid to films to influence the decisions of referees.
Former Barcelona captain Pique, who was at the club for the majority of the time under investigation, asserted that the Blaugrana did not pay referees and were just better than other teams at the time.
“I would put my hand on the fire that Barça has not bought referees,” the former Barca star said in an interview with RAC1.
“If you want to pay the referees, it’s easy, you stand by him and give the envelope, it’s easier than going to the vice-president of the refereeing committee.”
“No matter how much they want to smear, that was a golden era. It’s not just the titles won, but how they were won. You can review everything: we were far superior . We didn’t depend on the referee, for better or for worse.”
Barcelona won nine La Liga championships, six Copa del Rey championships, and four UEFA Champions League championships throughout the aforementioned 17-year span.
In a club statement, Real Madrid expressed their “utmost concern” over the allegations of corruption, however since then, Los Blancos president Florentino Perez has been accused of attempting to exert pressure or influence over former referee Iturralde Gonzalez during a match in 2010.
Gerard Piqué Bernabeu, a former center-back for the Spanish national team and Barcelona, was born on 2 February 1987.
He is regarded as one of the best defenders of all time because of his tackling, resilience under pressure, and career-long successes.
Piqué began his career at La Masia as a gifted student-athlete before joining Manchester United in 2004.
Under Pep Guardiola’s direction, he returned to Barcelona in 2008, where he helped the team win trebles in 2008–09 and 2014–15.
He is one of only four players—the others being Marcel Desailly, Paulo Sousa, and Samuel Eto’o—to have won the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams.
Gerard Pique also made 102 appearances for Spain after debuting on February 11, 2009.
He was a crucial member of the Spanish squads that won the UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Just following the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he left the national team.
What Allegations Are Levelled Against Barcelona?
Due to an apparent controversy involving the previous vice president of La Liga referees, Barcelona has been the target of very serious accusations.
The club has been charged with paying the former vice president of La Liga referees more than £1 million over a three-year period.
The tale was first reported by the Qui t’hi jugues program on the Cadena SER radio network in Spain, which also provided the most recent developments.
Barcelona reportedly “paid €1.4 million to a business owned by José Maria Enriquez Negreira between 2016 and 2018,” according to prosecutors.
Former First Division official Enriquez Negreira served as deputy president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) of the Royal Spanish Football Federation from 2016 to 2018.
From 1994 to 2018, the former referee served as vice president. According to the allegations, he received payments totaling €532,728 (£473,340) in 2016, €541,752 (£481,358) in 2017, and €318,200 (£282,915) in 2018.
Prior to his appointment as vice president, he worked as a referee in La Liga between 1975 and 1992. In Spanish football, Enriquez Negreira, who was born in Barcelona, is well-known.
The period in question, which ran from 2016 to 2018, Barcelona were highly successful, especially at home.
Barcelona won a total of eight trophies between 2015–16 and 2017–18, including two league crowns and three Copa del Rey victories.