16 May, 2023 @ 10:00
1 min read

Elite referees caught up in property empire corruption row take legal action against online newspaper 

Spain: Liga Bbva: Rcd Espanyol V Fc Barcelona
espanyol players protesting the decision of the referee Carlos Clos Gomez on in the match between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona matchday 31 of La Liga, played at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on March 29, 2014. Photo: Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/Nurphoto. -- (Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto/Sipa USA) *** Local Caption *** 13334792

FOUR elite Spanish referees reportedly caught up in an anti-corruption have launched a lawsuit against the media outlet which reported the allegations.

El Debate reported the news two weeks ago that the Anti-Corruption Prosecution were proving the referees over their real estate empires which were seemingly paid for in cash up front.

But now, the Referee Technical Committee of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced that it is taking legal action against the digital newspaper for allegations ‘demonstrated as non-existent.’

The Anti-Corruption Prosecution said that the report cited by El Debate had ‘no legitimate basis’ and there was no grounds to elevate it to a case, according to sources close to the referees. 

The investigators also reportedly made it clear that, after thoroughly examining the report, they concluded that it had no substance whatsoever and that they were ‘not involved in the matter in any way.’ 

Sport News September 26, 2022
Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez is suing El Debate over a report that he owns a property empire which he paid for with cash. (Credit Image: © Italy Photo Press via ZUMA Press)

The report in question that made the allegations was apparently also submitted to the Anti-Corruption Prosecution anonymously.

The four referees in question include Spain’s top VAR chief, Carlos Clos Gomez, who oversees the Video Assistant Referees in Spanish football.

Also under the spotlight are Jaime Latre, who officiated last weekend’s Copa del Rey final, Alejandro Hernández, who has officiated over a string of ‘classicos’ between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and La Liga ref Jose María Sánchez Martínez. 

“It was proven false and maliciously intended,” Jaime Latre said. “We shouldn’t create problems where there are none.”

Sánchez Martínez described the report as ‘lamentable’ and said, “It’s another example of what I’ve been saying. I’ve deleted it from my memory. 

“We’re accustomed to such acts. We didn’t come from outer space. We’re fathers, we have families, and we’re referees. We need to approach things with tact and professionalism.”


Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]

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