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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Barça president denies tax fraud

President Josep Bartomeu defended Barcelona’s dealings in signing Neymar, saying the Spanish champion would do it all over again despite being charged with tax fraud.

A Spanish judge charged Barcelona with the crime on Thursday, alleging it swindled the state of 9.1 million euros through payments to varying companies and false contracts.

“We did everything according to the letter of the law and we’ll go wherever we have to, to explain it,” Bartomeu said in an interview on the Spanish state broadcaster. “Our contract with Neymar and Santos is totally legal. The negotiations, the transactions, the contracts, everything was done legally and we would do it all again the exact same way.”

PELLEGRINI CHARGED. Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini was charged with misconduct by UEFA yesterday, hours after apologizing for blaming a referee for his team’s Champions League loss to Barcelona.

After questioning the integrity of Jonas Eriksson, Pellegrini faces a touch-line ban when his case is heard next Friday by UEFA’s control and disciplinary body.

UEFA announced that Pellegrini was “charged for violation of the general principles of conduct.”

After City’s 2-0 first-leg loss on Tuesday, Pellegrini said Eriksson was “not impartial” and favoured Barcelona. The coach also said that since the referee is Swedish, he shouldn’t have been given such a high-profile game. “Maybe I said some things I didn’t mean, so I apologize for what I said,” Pellegrini said yesterday.

SPANISH LEAGUE. Levante drew 1-1 at Valladolid yesterday to extend its unbeaten streak to seven straight games in the Spanish league.

The draw let Levante provisionally move into seventh place before the rest of the 25th round of matches are played this weekend. Valladolid remained in the relegation zone with only one win in its last nine games.

Levante struck first at José Zorilla Stadium when former Mallorca forward Víctor Casadesus headed in Andreas Ivanschitz’s free kick in the 25th minute.

Levante didn’t allow the hosts a clear scoring chance until striker Javi Guerra’s deflected shot bounced past goalkeeper Keylor Navas in the 52nd. It was Guerra’s team-leading 12th goal in league play this season.

SCOTTISH LEAGUE. Dundee United roared back into contention for second spot with a convincing 3-1 win over Euro rivals Motherwell.

AP, Reuters

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