The Minister of Culture and Sport, miquel icetaassured this Tuesday that at the moment in which the Prosecutor’s Office finishes its proceedings and formalizes the accusation in the Negreira case in court, the Government will decide if it is convenient to appear in the procedure.
“The problem worries us because harms football and Spanish sport. It is being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office, so At the time the accusation is formalized in court, we can actbut they will understand that he does not do it before,” Iceta explained in plenary session of the Senate.
Curiously, Iceta addressed the “Negreira case” on the same day, at practically the same time, that the intention of the prosecution to finally present in court a complaint against FC Barcelona and former president Josep María Bartomeu for the payments made to the former vice-president of the arbitrators, José María Enríquez Negreira.
In it, the Prosecutor’s Office accuses the club of crimes of corruption in business, unfair administration and falsehood. Therefore, at the time that said complaint is official, and taking Iceta’s words into account, the government may act and appear as a private prosecution.
“In this case there has been a rare unanimity between the Spanish Football Federation, La Liga and the Higher Sports Councilwhich can be summarized as that if confirmed it is serious, but according to sports legislation it would be prescribed. For this reason, we will wait for the Prosecutor’s Office to finish its proceedings and from there we will decide if it is convenient to meet in the judicial procedure”, added the minister, leaving in the air the decision that the executive will take in the “Negreira case” when it reaches the courts.
Iceta highlighted that since the facts became known, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has initiated a request for information both to those responsible for the Technical Committee of Referees like Barcelona, and reviewed the content of the new Sports Lawthat “has reinforced the mechanisms to fight against fraud and bad practices in the sports field“.
Among the novelties of the law, Iceta highlighted the obligation of federations and professional leagues to adopt a good governance codefor the establishment of a transparent and integral structure, as well as crime preventionand the inclusion as an infraction of maximum seriousness actions to determine by price, intimidation or simple agreements the result of a test or competition, whether or not it affects the result, and those that involve an attempt to alter the normal development of a competition.
“In this case, beyond the sports sanctions that would have prescribed, the facts investigated, if confirmed, may be subject to criminal sanction, since they enter into the cases of corruption, unfair administration or fraud in sports”, he pointed out. The minister insisted on “letting justice act”. “It will be then when we can decide to appear in the procedure. Meanwhile Let’s defend the good name of sport and Spanish athletes“, he added.
In his question, Senator Pablo Gomez He asked Iceta for explanations, after learning that the Prosecutor’s Office will file a complaint against the former president of Barcelona Josep Maria Bartomeu and against the club itself, as a legal entity, for payments of almost seven million euros to the former referee, and after the RFEF has affirmed “that a person from the Government knew about the Negreria case but did not denounce it”.
“The Federation discharges responsibilities on a former PSOE deputy, who worked for Barcelona, receiving the alleged reports from Negreira and that you rescued as general director of the CSD (alluding to Albert Soler). Not that I mean to disrespect the presumption of innocence, but I don’t know who is telling the truth and you as a minister do have to know. These are the explanations that we ask of you today,” said Pablo Gómez.
The senator considered that “despite the seriousness of the information and the impact of the case, The Government has tried to avoid taking a position on the matter beyond a big statement“. “The credibility of Spanish football is absolutely incompatible with a club paying for 17 years to a person from the committee for services that it has not been able to justify and that ceased to occur when he left the committee,” he reproached.