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Joan Laporta of Barcelona calls the inquiry into referee payments a "ferocious attack."


According to club president Joan Laporta, an investigation into allegations that Barcelona paid referees for special treatment is a part of a smear campaign.

Authorities assert Barcelona gave the former vice-president of Spain's referees committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, 8.4 million euros (£7.4 million).

According to Barcelona, the funds were for consulting services.

Laporta declared, "This is one of the most vicious attacks in our history."

"I am certain that FC Barcelona hasn't engaged in any corruption-related sporting crimes. I hope it is completely cleared sooner rather than later.

"I ask FC Barcelona supporters to be as unified as ever in defense of our crest, our core values, and our ownership model, which is that of a team owned by all of its players," the club's statement reads.

Barca was charged with "corruption," "breach of trust," and "false business records" last month, the court heard.

The governing body of European football, Uefa, has declared that it is also looking into the situation.

Barcelona, according to Laporta, has a record of all payments made between 2001 and 2018.

He stated, "Some services were offered. "They had records. Payments were recorded in the accounting books together with invoices. There was no corruption crime.

Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, was accused by Laporta of attempting to "damage Barcelona's reputation" and said that rival Real Madrid, who has joined the prosecution's case, has always been given preferential treatment when it comes to refereeing decisions.