Officials for the Spanish Super Cup Clasico final said Saturday they are fed up of the Barcelona refereeing scandal under investigation, and the impact the case is having on their lives and profession. Last year the Catalan club and several of their former directors were charged with bribery by a Spanish judge after alleged payments to former Spanish refereeing vice-president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. Barcelona face Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia on Sunday in a repeat of last season’s Super Cup final and referee Juan Martinez Munuera and his VAR colleague Cesar Soto Grado spoke at a news conference in Riyadh.
“This topic is starting to boil my blood, I am very tired of the ‘Negreira case’,” said Soto Grado.
“Just because there is one corrupt person in a company, it does not mean everyone else has to be as well.”
Negreira allegedly earned over seven million euros ($ 7.5 million) from Barcelona between 2001 and 2018, through companies supposedly producing refereeing reports, according to the club.
In recent days Spanish media outlets have reported on referees testifying before Spanish police as part of the investigation into the payments made by Barcelona.
“(Negreira) is a character who took advantage of his position, it’s him who has done the most damage in the history of refereeing,” continued Soto Grado.
“Everyone else is not corrupt, it’s this person — if the judge decides that he was.”
Soto Grado also criticised Real Madrid TV for running programmes with pundits and hosts criticising officials frequently this season.
“These things don’t help because in the end, they foster hatred towards referees,” he added.
Martinez Munuera said that the Negreira case is affecting him in his daily life.
“You go to the supermarket, you’re with your wife and your son, and there are people who call you corrupt,” he said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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