Real Madrid responded to accusations made by Barcelona president Joan Laporta that they have historically received favorable treatment from Spanish referees. To counter these claims, Madrid released a video that showcased Barcelona’s connections to the former government of dictator Francisco Franco.
During an emotional defense of Barcelona’s actions regarding the payment of €7 million to the former vice president of Spain’s refereeing committee over a period of 17 years, Joan Laporta made the accusation on Monday. A court is presently examining the payments, which were made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira’s company between 2001 and 2018, and Madrid has requested to participate in the investigation.
“We all know [Real Madrid] have been favoured by refereeing decisions, historically and in the present day,” Laporta said during a two-hour news conference on Monday. “It’s a club that has been considered the team of the [Franco] regime.”
“It’s worth remembering that, for seven decades, most of the presidents of the refereeing committee have been ex-members, ex-players or ex-directors of Real Madrid. For 70 years, the people who chose who dispensed justice on the field of play have been people connected to Real Madrid. For them to claim they feel wronged is an unprecedented exercise in cynicism.”
In response to Laporta’s accusations, Real Madrid published a video on social media later on Monday, questioning “which was the team of the regime?” The four-minute video highlights a number of events related to Barcelona during the Franco dictatorship, which spanned from 1939 until Franco’s death in 1975. These events include the inauguration of Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium by a government minister, and the club honoring Franco with medals.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have collaborated closely in recent years to promote a proposed breakaway European Super League. Nevertheless, according to sources, Madrid is concerned that this current dispute may signal a turning point in their relationship with Barcelona. Sources also suggest that Madrid views Laporta’s allegations as a tactic to shift the focus away from the Negreira investigation.