Gerard Pique has insisted Barcelona have not “paid the referees” after corruption allegations were leveled at the club, claiming he would “put his hand on fire” to swear it didn’t happen.
Barcelona accused “sports corruption” After it emerged that the club had made payments over several years to the former Spanish refereeing vice-president, José María Enriquez Negrera.
The €7m payments allegedly came between 2001 and 2018 for reports and videos of how he acted in front of certain referees.
In an interview with Rack 1former Barcelona captain Pique – who has been at the club for most of the period under investigation – has claimed that the Blaugrana did not pay the referees and were simply superior to other teams during that period.
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“I will put my hand on the fire that Barcelona did not buy referees,” said the retired star. “If you want to pay the judges, it’s easy, you stand on it and give the envelope, it’s easier than going to the vice-chairman of the jury.
“No matter how much they wanted to smear it, it was a golden age. It wasn’t just about titles won, but how they were won. You can review everything: we were way ahead. We didn’t depend on the referee, for better or for worse.” .
During the 17-year period in question, Barcelona have won nine La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey titles, and four UEFA Champions League titles.
Real Madrid expresses its deep concern about corruption charges in the club’s statement, although Los Blancos president Florentino Perez has been the same since then. Accused of attempting to pressure or influence Former referee Iturralde Gonzalez after a match in 2010.