Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez says the Catalan club are 'paying for the Negreira case' after Brazilian attacker Vitor Roque was controversially sent off against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday night.
Barça beat Deportivo Alaves 3-1 at Mendizorrotza with goals from Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan and Vitor Roque, but Xavi was unhappy as the Brazilian was shown a red card late in the game.
Roque came off the bench to score, but picked up two yellow cards in quick succession – the second for supposedly stamping on Alaves defender Rafa Marin.
The decision seemed extremely harsh and although Marin posted a picture afterwards of his bloodied leg, it is hard to see how contact could have been avoided after he slid in on the Brazilian.
Speaking ahead of this game, Xavi had ratified the words of his president Joan Laporta after the club chief said Real Madrid's television campaigns against referees were "conditioning the officiating" and "adultering the competition".
And after this latest controversy, the Barça coach was unhappy again as he spoke in his post-match press conference.
"I don't have to say it, you have all seen it," he said. "We're paying for the Negreira case – that's the reality. That's what I feel.
"The only thing I ask for is that they allow us to compete, that's all I ask. And I won't speak about referees any more. You kill me for it, but what can I say? I have to tell the truth."
The Negreira case concerns payments of €7.3 million made by Barcelona to the former refereeing committee vice president between 2001 and 2018.
Barça have denied corruption and say the payments were made for consulation purposes, to receive reports related to professional refereeing.
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