Speaking at an appearance on Friday night at the XIV Congress of Barça Supporters Clubs of Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla, Barcelona president Joan Laporta vowed to defend the club’s reputation ‘to the last drop of his blood’ amidst the club being caught up in the Negreira case.
Between 2001 and 2018, Barcelona made several payments to Enriquez Negreira, the former Vice-President of the Referees Committee, which came to light recently.
While the club have clarified that those payments were made for services such as scout reports on youngsters and technical reports on referees, accusations of corruption and influencing match officials have been levelled against the club.
The investigation has not led to any evidence against any sort of wrongdoing on the club’s part. In fact, leaked reports that Negreira provided the Catalans have only stacked the evidence in favour of the Blaugrana.
But, with UEFA looking into the matter and La Liga president Javier Tebas also not relenting, Laporta & co. are under pressure to provide an explanation, which they intend to do later this month.
For now, however, the Barcelona president has claimed that he will do everything in his power to defend the club against these attacks while also calling for unity among the fans amid difficult times like these.
“They have nothing and the only thing they have wanted to do is to damage our reputation and our honour. And you don’t play with Barça’s sentiment. It’s 123 years of showing values, commitment, responsibility, honesty and fair play because that’s how we understand football, sport and life,” Laporta said.
“The tactic is to try to drown us, to squeeze us, until we give in, we are not going to allow them to insult the dignified sense of Barcelonismo that all the Culés have, especially those of you from Andalucía. I will not allow it. We are going to defend Barça to the last drop of our blood,” he added.
Further lashing out at the allegations made against the club, the president said: “Barça have always won on the field of play thanks to the effort, talent, quality and commitment of the players and at no time have we entered into dynamics that would have people believe that we have done so.
“What they are doing is very ugly. What they are doing with this denigrating campaign against the reputation of our club is no coincidence.”
“I ask you to maintain unity, unity to defend our shield, our essence, our model of ownership.”