Football, law breaking, organised crime and plain old bias


They were an icon against fascism, a club representative of a people, more than any national identity could ever be.  We saw commonalities between Barcelona and our own heritage.  While we did what we could to earn a seat at the top table, they packed out the biggest club stadium in Europe and were invariably second, third, or sometimes first in the football money league.

Catalan prosecutors have revealed that over a 17 year period, Barcelona paid €8.4m to the former vice-president of the Spanish refereeing committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, and his company.  The payments are not disputed, the former referee VP, claims the club employed him to ensure fairness.

He said, “I saw [Barcelona presidents] at most six times a year so they were calm that there were no decisions against FC Barcelona in the arbitration committee, that everything was neutral.”  The club claim they paid the money for Negreira to compile video reports to compliment information required by coaching staff.

Former Barcelona presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, face corruption charges, the former recently spent two years in prison on separate charges before being acquitted on appeal.  The club’s current president, Joan Laporta, has not been indicted, although the story has a long way to run.

Compared to what happened in Scotland – disguised renumeration and undisclosed contracts to dodge taxes and gain a sporting advantage, paying millions to a referee chief – even if you accept either parties’ version of events, is on a different level.  Perhaps only Juventus can compete with what for so many of us was an iconic bastion of goodness in the game.

Although corruption exists in football, it is rare to see payments directly between parties who should never have such commercial dealings.  More commonly, this type of payment would go through a third party.  The industry is a heady environment for ambitious lawyers, who make up a sizeable portion of the players’ agent industry.  They commonly invoice significant fees to club and can easily pay equally significant fees out for other professional services.

You may know it goes on, but even if you had all the paperwork, proving what happened was something sinister can be impossible.  Which is why this is so shoddy, lazy, even.  It is time for us to stop pretending modern sport is some bastion of 19th century ethical endeavours and accept that law breaking, organised crime and plain old bias cannot reach our fields.  To believe otherwise does our athletes and the paying customer a disservice.

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  1. paulsthroughball88 on

    Penultimate sentence, PAUL67, you meant “can”, rather than “cannot”, right?

  2. Looking at pictures of the French uprising.



    Better not mention the dirty fork



  3. They were an icon of fascism,not signing a catholic for a large part of their history.A club representative of its deeply biased establishment,seen as ‘the works team’ for a governing body who buckled in fear as the symbol of the union in Scotland liquidated as the fraudulent pack of cards tumbled.



    The commonalities with Barcelona and Toiletbend fc are only in criminality.Ah the romance of messi,xavi et al now as questionable as every signing under minty to a 2nd attempt to get Cousins under the minty regime that for the record was sold for one hundred pence.there is no romance in cheating.They both had the arrogance to cheat and are black afffronted at it being pointed out.



    Cheating is cheating.


    Toilet bend fc cheated


    Barcelona fc cheated.



    They took out of our game.



    Then follow the to big to fail model!




  4. paulsthroughball88 on




    Not a bachelor, but the wife says I remind her of one of their songs.




  5. Used to always call Real Madrid Franco’s team but it seems he bailed out Barcelona on several occasions.



    So a Spanish man in the bar across the street told me.



    Nobody ever lied on a barstool so must be true.

  6. garygillespieshamstring on







    Marmalade’s Radancer and The Bachelors’ Ramona .



    A couple of songs for nippy Glaswegian burds who are fond of the jiggin.



    Apologies to Big Jimmy.

  7. paulsthroughball88 on




    ‘Nippy’ sounds about right in my case.



    On her feet, of course.

  8. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Fair enough Paul.



    When assessing possible corrupt, criminal practices … I always think it helps to look for evidence that outcomes have been affected during the period shady acts took place.



    Now if that evidence exists …. one still cannot say for sure one thing happened directly because of the other …



    … but it is a strong indicator.



    Take this case.



    If Barcelona paid to influence refereeing there might be some indicator in a key metric which is simple to present?



    For example – penalty kicks awarded and conceded?



    Does anyone have data available from the top 5 Euro leagues showing penalties awarded versus conceded?



    If so, this MIGHT show Barcelona as the significant outlier in European football?



    Additionally, if data from Scotland is available – purely for reference – it might be worthwhile seeing.




  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Mod – chill mate. It’s international week.



    Anyone looking at me without any context at 3am last night … might have thought I was “dying”.



    I was just having a rest.

  10. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    Aye ok, Dr john Campbell has become a snake oil salesman because you, with your superior knowledge of medical practices and medical research has deemed it so, the experts he regularly has as guest can be dismissed because irrespective of their qualification you do not agree with their expert opinion. I think they call that confirmation bias, not a single piece of evidence to support your accusations beyond, his analysis has been taken up by people you consider right wing.

  11. bigrailroadblues on

    Saint Stivs 2.15


    Broonie’s shout to Barton-” show us yer medals”. 😂😂

  12. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    And the link I suggested you watch, was his breakdown of peer reviewed research done in Taiwan using approx 5000 children as the sample group related to the side effects of mRNA, obviously his review was highly flawed because you say so.


    Apparently everything he said to supported vaccination and risk control was ok but anything he subsequently discovered through his investigation and questioning of the experts available to him is populist quackery eh.

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