FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta gives a press conference while showing a referee technical report. GETTY IMAGES

A Spanish court quashed bribery charges against Barcelona on Friday relating to a refereeing corruption scandal, and halted an investigation into president Joan Laporta. Former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell and others remain under investigation for alleged sporting corruption, after the club paid a former refereeing chief more than 7.3 million euros ($7.9 million) between 1994 and 2018, Agence France-Presse reported Friday.

Prosecutors suspect Barcelona paid a company owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of Spain's refereeing committee (CTA) between 2001 and 2018, to influence refereeing decisions.

"We maintain our conviction that through the courts... (the issue) can be definitively clarified and the absolute innocence of the club can be proven," said Barcelona in a statement.

The decision to quash the bribery charges hinges on the Barcelona court deciding Negreira did not have the status of "public official" during his time as vice-president of the CTA. The investigation began in March 2023 after Spain's tax authorities identified irregularities in tax payments made between 2016 and 2018 by the company Dasnil 95 —owned by Negreira.

Barcelona said they paid Dasnil 95 to advise the club on refereeing matters and produce reports on officials.