Spain's Soccer Federation raided in referee bribery case
STORY: Police searched the offices of the Spanish refereeing committee inside the soccer federation headquarters in Madrid on Thursday (September 28).
It is part of a probe into suspected “systemic corruption” inside the refereeing committee.
Prosecutors filed a complaint in March over alleged payments of more than $7.8 million over 17 years to firms owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the vice president of the refereeing committee from 1993 to 2018
The investigation now also includes soccer club Barcelona as a suspect with rivals Real Madrid joining the prosecution as a damaged party.
Investigating judge Jaoquin Auguirre Lopez said earlier in September the La Liga champions may have benefitted from graft.
The judge added earlier that no evidence has been found so far of Negreira paying referees to influence match results.
Reuters has been unable to reach Negreira. The Spanish soccer federation was not immediately available for comment.
Barcelona have denied any wrong doing saying in a statement in February an external consultant was paid to supply “technical reports related to professional refereeing” which it says is commonplace.
A Barcelona source told Reuters the club will not issue an official statement, adding its criminal lawyers quote "have been preparing for it from day one."
Spanish soccer is still reeling from sexual abuse allegations against the former head of the federation Luis Rubiales.
Rubiales kissed World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso on the lips in August, setting off a furore that largely overshadowed both the women's team triumph in Sydney and the refereeing scandal.
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