He FC Barcelona This Monday he presented an appeal before the Barcelona Court against the order of Judge Joaquín Aguirre, who is investigating the Negreira case, in which he accused the club, as well as its former presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu and to two former directors, for an alleged crime of bribery. The Barça entity, through its lawyers, flatly rejects that the main defendant in the judicial process, the former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), José María Enríquez Negreira, can be branded as public officials and that this entity exercises works public. Barça maintains that by invoking bribery, the judge “puts a rearview mirror that looks back to the year 2001 in which the payments linked to José Enríquez Negreira begin” and produces “a kind of procedural elephantiasis” by projecting the eventual status of accused to other boards and other management teams, regardless of “the game that may give” the prescription of the crime.
The crime of bribery is committed by “public authorities or officials” who receive or request gifts or remuneration to carry out an action contrary to the “duties inherent therein” in the exercise of their position. According to the magistrate, Barça’s payment of more than seven million euros to the former referee leader or his son for seven years would fall within this crime and, for this, he will equip Enriquez Negreira as officials, since, in his opinion, the committee Technical is an entity that performs functions of a public nature. In this way, he maintains that Enríquez Negreira “exercised public functions” as vice president of said committee. For this reason, he equates him to an official for criminal purposes when introducing this crime.
However, the appeal presented by Barça’s lawyers, Cristóbal Martell and Marc Molins, maintains that this is not the case. Firstly, because Enriquez Negreira cannot be considered a public official because his appointment occurs by appointment of the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), “who is not an authority”, nor “even an official.” The letter adds that the RFEF “even though it is an associative entity governed by private law” and exercises by “delegation some public functions”, these are delimited by law and “none of them are carried out” by the CTA, nor by its vice president.
“In short, it is clear” that Enriquez Negreira “is not appointed by express and immediate provision of the law (as qualified), “nor has he accessed public office” through “an election understood by such as in accordance with doctrine and jurisprudence to electoral processes that incorporate public office positions”, such as mayors or councillors, “nor have they been appointed by the competent authority”, a regulatory provision that converts temporary, interim and labor and administrative contracts into civil servants “for criminal purposes”.
And emphasizes that It is the president of the RFEF who appoints him and that this is not authority, “since it lacks command, that is, the capacity and coercion to enforce what is ordered.” To argue this theory, the lawyers collect a ruling from the Supreme Court in which it is ruled out that “the president of the sports federation has the status of official or assimilated.” “Well, if it is not the president, it can hardly be the one who depends on him and whom he appoints,” the appeal specifies. It recognizes that although the RFEF can exercise “public functions of an administrative nature”, among which are disciplinary powers. However, it states that this power is limited “exclusively” and in a “residual and very limited” manner to the “technical aspects of the performance of members.” And this action, he emphasizes, “is not an exercise of public function”, since the behaviors that they sanction are neither in the sports law nor in the sports discipline regulations.