Former defender Fernando Giner and his Valencia teammates received a “substantial” cash incentive from Barcelona to perform well against Deportivo La Coruna in a 1994 Spanish league match.
“Obviously there was a bonus, and a sizeable one, from Barcelona,” he revealed in an interview with the press service of Spain's indoor football league which was obtained by AFP.
“I accepted the money but this money had a bitter taste,” the 43-year-old added.
The May 14, 1994 match between Valencia and Deportivo resulted in a goalless draw.
Barcelona ended the season with the same number of points as Deportivo but won the Spanish league title because they had scored more goals in the matches involving the two teams.
Giner said he would have preferred to see Deportivo win the title since several of his former Valencia teammates were part of the Galician side at the time.
Allegations that so-called “motivation payments” are dished out — usually to teams which no longer have anything to play for that are facing a well-placed squad still in the title race – have swirled around Spanish football for years.
“We know this exists but as long as no complaint is filed, we can't do anything,” a spokesman for the Spanish football federation told AFP in June 2007.
“Several inquiries have been opened in recent years following complaints but we have never managed to prove that these payments were made so no penalty has ever been handed out,” he added.
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