Estrada Fernández: “I would never have imagined that a club could pay the vice president of the CTA”


The former First Division referee Xavier Estrada Fernández is clear that he “never” would have imagined that a club could be making payments to the vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees”, as the justice system is investigating with José María Enríquez Negreira and FC Barcelona, and does not hide that there are still “answers missing to many unknowns.”

“I could never have imagined it, honestly (that a club could make these payments to a vice president of the CTA). When you enter you can imagine it and if this has happened with a club, the other question is if it has been able to happen with other clubs because In fact, the son (Javier Enríquez) had worked with other clubs in the League. Nothing else has emerged, but it is obviously super shocking that this happens,” said Estrada Fernández in an interview with Europa Press after the presentation of his book ‘. The truth about the Negreira case’.

Regarding the role of the former vice president of the CTA, he believes that “one of the important things is the way to proceed.” “That is, the culture of the organization, based on fear, on this free emotion that makes people only hear, listen and act, but at no time speak or can express going against what leadership or the club’s philosophy,” he warned.

The former referee also regretted the “lack of answers to many unknowns that exist today, such as why it was paid or in exchange for what.” “It is very difficult for me to believe that from the year 93 to 2018 (period in which Negreira was vice president of the CTA) it has not emerged that anyone in the environment knew about this, except that they knew about it and remained silent for some reason,” he said.

Regarding the ways in which Enríque Negreira influenced Spanish refereeing during his time as vice president of the CTA, Estrada Fernández related that he “always said that there was a group one with Real Madrid, Barça and Atlético de Madrid, and then everything the rest”. “I told you ‘What do you want to be, a group 3 referee? That’s ‘trash’, that’s nothing. Do you know that you’re completely down?” He narrated about the conversations he had with Enríquez Negreira.

“Sometimes it is not necessary for them to tell you things so clearly. We are not children and inducing is very easy, and I believe that people know how to understand perfectly,” he said, recalling the example of Pavlov’s dog theory. “We learn this way, when you go and do something you don’t like and they punish you, you internalize this, and in the end you say, I know that’s not the case, on the other hand,” he added.

After the complaint filed last year, Estrada Fernández said that he has received the support of many colleagues such as Brito Arceo or Paradas Romero, or even received a call from Urízar Azpitarte. “There are former referees who contacted me, expressing their courage or the fact of explaining what was happening. I don’t know for what purpose, but it is true that many of them had suffered it too,” he remarked.

“In the end they see a ‘little’, they feel a little liberated, because of what they could suffer at the time and that did not have the repercussion that it has now because the ‘Negreira case’ had not broken out,” said the former Catalan referee.

He also added that he had received comments from active colleagues, although he did not want to say their names because he has a “very good relationship” and believes that “it does not help them.” Yes, he wanted to comment on the case of Teodoro Sobrino Magán, an active assistant in the First Division and who has presented a candidacy to preside over the Castilla-La Mancha Football Federation. “You just have to look at the wars and difficulties they are putting in him to run for president because there is (Pablo) Burillo who is part of this Management Board,” he said.


The man from Ilerda recalled that the months from February to June 2023 were “the saddest” of his life as a referee and that every weekend he spent three or four days in Madrid refereeing games from the VAR. “It was super curious because it was selling harassment and demolition by the CTA, while I had a very good relationship with most of my colleagues. There is evidence of this, obviously there is evidence that you did not have their approval because they were and are very similar,” he concluded.

“So they know the favors they have to return, but for me that was the most unfortunate thing. And then you see that you fight against institutions that are very powerful, with resources, lawyers and they have everything and you have nothing,” he continued, insisting that in his case he has “no one behind him, neither Tebas nor anyone” and that he is only in this fight with the support of his lawyers, his collaborator on the book, Miguel Ángel Pérez, and his family, who help him financially every time he there is a resource.

The former referee defined the arbitration system as “flawed and perverse”, because “from the moment the informants are not free to put their notes because the Committee itself calls them to rectify the report and from then on it is totally subjective.”

“With VAR you can hear the on-field referee, the operator, the assistants, the fourth referee, the AVAR and have all the information about what is happening. This restricts the referee’s freedom to make decisions because he knows he is being heard. and that information can be transferred to the report,” he pointed out about the video arbitration.

In this sense, he knows that the VAR “is a very good tool, but well used” and was critical of the audios that are published, asking that they be broadcast live like in field hockey because “there are those who say that it may be manipulated or that it can be edited, and that it is not real.

“Now I have thought that it is not just the ‘Negreira case’ but that there are many other cases, and nothing happens, so this country is very screwed. And it is very worrying because in the end there will really be something that they want to cover up or that it is not interesting to reveal because I no longer know what else has to happen,” he stated, describing it as “surreal” that the Royal Spanish Football Federation is presenting itself as an accusation of the process because “how are you going to defend someone that you have had because you put it.”

“We have to be patient because this is long, the judicial processes are long, we have been going for more than a year and ‘peak’ and it is going to be a long time, no one has declared yet. We have to be patient and I understand that there will be a lot of pressure to back away” Estrada Fernández warned.