Due to its payments of millions of euros to a business related to a Spanish officiating official, Barcelona now faces a fresh legal threat from UEFA, including a potential suspension from the Champions League.
Authorities in Spain are already looking into the allegations. On Thursday the European Union requested for a probe. Regulations for the Champions League that have been in place since April 2007 permit UEFA to exclude a team from the tournament for one season for match manipulation.
On Thursday, UEFA said it had instructed its disciplinary inspectors to “launch an inquiry on a suspected infringement of UEFA’s regulatory framework by FC Barcelona in connection with the so-called Caso Negreira.”
According to court records, between 2001 and 2018, Barcelona paid €7.3m (£6.5m) to a firm owned by José Mara Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of the Spanish football officiating committee. Spanish prosecutors have filed official charges against FC Barcelona, accusing the club of sports corruption, fraudulent administration, and document falsification. A judge who conducts the investigation will determine whether or not criminal charges will be filed.
Thus yet, no proof that referees or individual games were impacted has been disclosed. Barc€ has always maintained that it did nothing improper or conflicting by paying for technical reports on referees but never attempting to influence their judgments during games.
Barcelona responds to UEFA after they revealed that they will conduct investigation on the Negreira case
Barcelona might be banned from UEFA tournaments for a year and face disciplinary action if evidence of match manipulation over the last 16 years is found. After suffering record losses last season, Barcelona now has a 12-point lead in La Liga. They will virtually likely qualify for next season’s Champions League.
As the revelation broke, club president Joan Laporta (who had previously served as president from 2003 to 2010) confirmed the payments but said that Negreira had functioned as an advisor, despite the club’s initial refusal to respond.
He described the club’s payment of Negreira as “quite typical” and denied any wrongdoing. He said that Negreira’s role was to create reports and assist Barcelona’s players with officiating concerns.
After receiving the notification from UEFA, Barcelona has made themselves available to UEFA and have conveyed their willingness to cooperate in everything. The club will send them all information and documents that are necessary.
Nah this confidence https://t.co/mFbjBIMk0a
— woin (@woinrxle) March 23, 2023
I want UEFALONAA back next season and hopefully, make Arsenal fans cry again just as we used to in the good old days.
Let's actually send some money to these clowns along with the documents https://t.co/OdZ0NxXhAG
— Anmol Abhinav (@k_a_r_a_n_9) March 23, 2023
La Liga hate us because we didn’t sign the CVC, UEFA hate us because of Super League. https://t.co/yITO2Ftxmk
— The Fabric Chef (@TheMooreUWant_1) March 23, 2023
Against everyone and against everything 💙❤️ https://t.co/21PXmoSvVn
— Neff 🌴☀️ (@BlaugranaNeff) March 23, 2023
Now we gotta fight UEFA too 🤦🤦🤦 https://t.co/1ZKwmZQ2Tg
— Kush Rathod (@kushrath0d10) March 23, 2023
W we have nothing hide
— Emad (@EmadCule) March 23, 2023
We have nothing to hide.
Hold that UEFA and Tebass.
— richie_rich 💔 (@waraich_haseeb) March 23, 2023
Barca should sue UEFA instead of cooperating in investigation
— Ind7 Farrago 🏹 (@fekteraho) March 23, 2023
Man City had 100 accusations and refused to cooperate and all they got was a fine
— Jonas (@a_d_younes) March 23, 2023