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Spanish police search football referee headquarters in graft probe

Police in Spain on Thursday searched the headquarters of the country’s football referee committee as part of a probe into payments made by Liga giants Barcelona to a firm owned by a former official of the body.

Prosecutors suspect the club paid millions of euros to the company of Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee, between 2001 and 2018, to try to influence referee decisions.

The Barcelona court investigating the case on Thursday ordered the search of the headquarters “as part of the investigation into the suspect payments made by the Catalan club” to Negreira, the  regional court oversight body said in a statement.

The Guardia Civil police force, which was carrying out the search of the committee located in the headquarters of Spain’s football federation in Las Rozas on the outskirts of Madrid, did not expect to make any arrests as part of the operation, a spokesman said.

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