MORE trouble for Barcelona as UEFA opens investigation into Negreira referee payments scandal

Barcelona(C)Getty Images
  • La Liga giants under the microscope
  • Domestic rivals working against them
  • European football's governing body now involved

WHAT HAPPENED? The Liga giants have found themselves caught up in a storm after it was revealed that they made payments totalling €7.3 million to former vice-president of the Referee’s Committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, between 2001 and 2018. Barca have been officially charged with corruption, while vowing to clear their name in court, and have come in for fierce criticism from rival clubs and supporters as a result of their off-field actions.

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WHAT HAS BEEN SAID? It has now been revealed that European football’s governing body will be getting involved with the case. A statement from UEFA reads: "In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors have today been appointed to conduct an investigation regarding a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework by FC Barcelona in connection with the so-called ‘Caso Negreira’. Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona maintain that they have done nothing wrong and never earned favour among match officials as a result of the payments made to Negreira – which came during an era in which the club enjoyed considerable domestic and European success.

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WHAT NEXT? UEFA, alongside Spanish authorities, need to determine that no acts of corruption took place in Catalunya and that the sporting integrity of La Liga competition during the period in question cannot be called into question. Barca must wait to discover what the outcome of several cases against them will be, and whether they will subsequently face any action.