Florentino Perez CANCELS customary dinner with Barcelona chief Joan Laporta ahead of El Classico, amid rising tensions between the clubs after Real Madrid announced they would join prosecutors in pursuing the Catalan giants over corruption scandal
- Barcelona were charged with corruption over payments to an ex-referee chief
- Real Madrid announced they would join the complaint filed by prosecutors
- Florentino Perez will now not attend Sunday’s El Classico, amid rising tensions
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will not attend Sunday’s El Classico against Barcelona, amid rising tensions between the clubs over the Casa Negreira scandal.
The Catalan giants were last week charged with corruption over historic payments made by the club to the then vice-president of the Spanish referees’ committee.
Spain’s public prosecutor has accused the club of maintaining a relationship with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira in which ‘in exchange for money’ he carried out actions that would ‘lead to Barcelona being favoured in the decision making of the referees’.
The prosecution says Barcelona are accused of paying Negreira €7.3million (£6.46m) via two companies he owned – DASNIL and NILSAT. The relationship started in 2001 and ended in 2018 when ties were cut with the by then ex-vice president of the Referees Committee.
The club could face huge financial penalties if found guilty, and Negreira, former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu, and former directors Oscar Grau and Albert Soler could face up to four years in jail.
Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez will not attend tonight’s El Classico against Barcelona, amid rising tensions between the clubs over the Casa Negreira scandal
Barcelona were last week charged with corruption over payments to a former referees’ official
Real Madrid then announced last Sunday that they would join the complaint filed by Spanish prosecutors.
In a club statement, they said: ‘Real Madrid express their deep concern about the seriousness of the facts and reiterate their full confidence in the action of the justice and have agreed that, in defence of their legitimate interests, they will join the complaint as soon as the judge takes up the case.’
This has put a significant strain on relations between the rivals ahead of tonight’s El Classico.
Despite seemingly working together, along with Juventus, to push for a European Super League, Perez is now not expected to attend the clash at the Nou Camp, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo.
The customary dinner between the presidents of both clubs that takes place before every El Classico game was also cancelled earlier this week, meaning Perez will no longer dine with his Barcelona counterpart Joan Laporta.
Perez is expected to watch the game from Madrid instead, with the Real chief likely to have received an extremely hostile reception from Barcelona supporters if he attended.
This will also be the first time Perez has not attended an El Classico fixture over the course of his two spells as Real president, which spans a 20-year period.
The clash is almost certainly a must-win for Carlo Ancelotti’s side as they lie nine points behind the Catalan giants with just 13 LaLiga games to go.
Despite easing through their Champions League last-16 tie with Liverpool by virtue of a 6-2 aggregate win, they have struggled for consistency in the league over recent months, which includes suffering costly defeats to Mallorca and Villarreal.
The customary dinner between Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Perez was cancelled