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Barcelona opens 9-point lead at the top of La Liga after Raphinha’s strike as former club presidents are charged with ‘continued corruption’

Barcelona is now nine-point clear at the top of La Liga with a 0-1 narrow victory at Athletic Bilbao. Raphinha scored the winner in first-half injury-time.

Raphinha netted for BARCA

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Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Barcelona FT HT 0-1 Raphinha (45’+1minutes)

Marc-Andre ter Stegen was outstanding making several saves to deny Bilbao a goal. However, a late Inaki Williams goal was ruled out for handball after a lengthy Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check.

Oier Zarraga’s ball was also cleared just a few inches off the line by Jules Kounde in added time as Barca carry the day.

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Barcelona now has an advantage over their rivals Real Madrid, who had reduced the points to six after beating Espanyol on Saturday.

Sunday is the set day for a mouthwatering clash that is El Clasico at Nou Camp.

Barca’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski was back in the game after recovering from an injury.

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FC Barcelona charged with ‘continued corruption’

FC Barcelona

The club is accused through both Rosell and Bartomeu of coming to a “strictly confidential verbal agreement” with Enríquez Negreira with the aim to “produce actions which tended to favour Barcelona in the form of refereeing decisions.”

With an alleged payment scandal which has rocked Spanish soccer going on, Friday, FC Barcelona was charged by the Barcelona provincial prosecutor’s office with “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field” in addition to other charges.

Former Barca president Sandro Rosell

Those who are charged in this case are Former Barca presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, former club CEO Oscar Grau, former club director of professional sports Albert Soler and José María Enríquez Negreira – a former leading refereeing official in Spain.

In a written complaint from the Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office sent to CNN, Barça and the other accused have also been charged with “the crime of continued false administration and the crime of continued falsification of commercial documents.”

An FCB source told CNN that the report was an “absolutely preliminary investigative hypothesis” and that the club would assist the investigation in any way possible. The source also strongly denied that the club had at any time bribed a referee or tried to influence refereeing decisions.

Spanish lawyer Jose Maria Fuster Fabra is representing Bartomeu in this case. “We are preparing the defence and we don’t think this case will go to trial,” he said, declining to make further statements.

The accused held positions of power in the club and were aware of payments which were invoiced annually.

From January 2011 until June 2018, two companies that Enríquez Negreira – who served as CTA vice president from 1993 to 2018 – founded, were found to have “acted on behalf and indirect benefit to Barcelona.”

Josep Maria Bartomeu

The CTA is the governing body responsible for deciding which referees and assistants officiate league and national competitive matches in Spain.

European football governing body UEFA did not come clear to comment on whether it is investigating the club.

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Earlier in March, Spanish football federation (RFEF) secretary general Andreu Camps said the organization had sent all of its information relating to the case to UEFA’s integrity unit.


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