The former referee Xavier Estrada Fernández, who whistled matches of the highest Spanish and European level between 2009 and 2022 and is currently part of the video arbitration (VAR) collegiate team, yesterday filed a criminal complaint against José María Enríquez Negreira and his son, Javier Enríquez Romero, in the trial court of Barcelona. According to the regional chain Esports3, Estrada denounces an alleged crime of corruption and sports fraud in the framework of the information that last week revealed that Enríquez Negreira, former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), received a total of seven million euros from the Barcelona between 2001 and 2018.
Estrada, 47, states in the complaint brief that Enríquez Negreira, given his status as director of the arbitration panel, “had or could have” influence over the arbitration panel. Regarding the son of the main defendant, Javier Enríquez, he points out that in his role as a “sports coach” numerous referees could also influence him. Estrada indicates that the denounced facts violate the “transparency of professional soccer” and the “integrity” that should guide the conduct of his union.
The movement of Estrada Fernández has irritated the active members, the already retired who exercised during the period in which the payments are made, and the CTA itself. On his account, Estrada has taken the initiative when the intention of the arbitration group was to have made a joint complaint movement. The fact of not having included Barcelona in the complaint has also caused surprise among the union.
However, Estrada’s complaint is also directed against the Dasnil company, recipient of the payments that Barcelona made to Enríquez Negreira. According to Enríquez Negreira’s statement before the Tax Agency, which inquired about the invoices issued by Barça in his favor, the services consisted of “verbal” “technical advice” and ensuring “neutrality” for the Barça entity in the arbitrations.
The Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the case, with the difficulty that comes from the fact that there is no documentary support that proves the existence of the alleged work carried out by Enríquez Negreira. La Liga and all the First and Second clubs, except Madrid and Barcelona, have condemned the activities of Enríquez Negreira and have expressed their desire that Justice get to the bottom of the matter and settle responsibilities if the crimes are proven.
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