UEFA Investigates Barcelona’s Champions League Participation Amid Allegations of Refereeing Official Payments

July 28, 2023 9:37 am

UEFA’s confirmation of Barcelona’s participation in the upcoming UEFA Champions League comes with a caveat, as the Caso Negreira scandal remains under scrutiny. The club’s place in the prestigious tournament, valued at tens of millions of euros and earned through their LaLiga victory last season, faced potential jeopardy due to an investigation involving payments to a refereeing official.

Details from court documents revealed that Barcelona had made payments totaling €7.3 million ($7.7 million) between 2001 and 2018 to a company associated with José María Enríquez Negreira, the former vice president of Spain’s football refereeing committee. Prosecutors formally accused Barcelona of engaging in corrupt practices related to sports, fraudulent management, and falsification of business documents. Follow your favourite La Liga team with attractive betting odds from Nextbet

However, as of now, no specific allegations have emerged regarding any fixed games or influenced referees since the investigation began in March. UEFA’s regulations dictate that teams may face removal from one season of European competition if they are found to have been involved in match-fixing either domestically or internationally since April 2007, possibly leading to further disciplinary consequences.

Although Barcelona has been “provisionally admitted to take part” in the Champions League, UEFA maintains the possibility of a “future decision on admission/exclusion.” The final verdict could have implications for the club’s participation in the group-stage draw scheduled for August 31.

Throughout the investigation, Barcelona has consistently denied any wrongdoing or conflicts of interest, asserting that their payments were for technical reports on referees and not intended to influence their decision-making during games.

Interestingly, the UEFA investigation took place amid a separate legal battle between Barcelona and UEFA at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The contentious matter revolved around the ill-fated Super League project, which failed to materialize in 2021. Barcelona, alongside Real Madrid and Juventus, contended that UEFA’s monopoly control hindered the emergence of rival competitions.

As the Champions League draws near, the situation remains precarious for Barcelona. While UEFA’s provisional admission grants them access to the tournament for now, the specter of the Caso Negreira scandal and its potential repercussions looms large. The club’s innocence in the matter continues to be maintained, but until the investigation reaches its conclusion, uncertainty prevails over Barcelona’s Champions League journey. Get the latest updates from the La Liga only on Nextbet Sports.