Barcelona president Joan Laporta charged over referee scandal

Barcelona President, Joan Laporta

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been charged as part of the investigations into alleged bribes paid to referees, a Spanish court said on Wednesday.

The club itself and two of its former presidents, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as the former head of Spain’s referee’s body, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, and his son have already been charged.

Laporta has been charged in relation to his first spell as president of Barcelona from 2003 to 2010.

In his report published on Wednesday, the judge leading the investigation said, in his opinion, Laporta could not benefit from the statute of limitations because of the seriousness of the accusations.

Negreira allegedly earned over seven million euros ($7.5 million) from Barcelona between 2001 and 2018, through companies supposedly producing refereeing reports for the club.

Barcelona, the 27-time Spanish champions, have been fighting off accusations for months and deny any wrongdoing.