Barcelona could be BANNED from Champions League as UEFA opens investigation

Carlo Garganese
Carlo Garganese
  • 23 Mar 2023 13:09 GMT
  • 3 min read
Joan Laporta, Barcelona, crisis

UEFA could ban Barcelona from the Champions League if they are found guilty of refereeing corruption over Caso Negreira, according to El Confidencial.

Despite initial reports that Barca could be relegated from La Liga, this is now not the case as the statute of limitations has run out.

This means that under Spanish law the Blaugrana cannot be penalised sportingly, they can only suffer economic punishment.

READ MORE: Barcelona to smash European record

This does not prevent UEFA from sanctioning Barcelona, though, if they are found guilty and there is the possibility Europe’s governing body chooses to ban them from the Champions League.

UEFA open investigation into Negreira case

UEFA has confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the case with a statement on Thursday.

European football's governing body stated: “In accordance with Article 31.4. UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors will carry out an investigation into a possible violation of UEFA's legal framework”.

"Ethics and disciplinary inspectors have 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'".

Barcelona stand accused of having made payments totalling more than €8 million to former vice-president of Spain’s referee committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

A fortnight ago, a court in Barcelona announced that the club has been indicted over the charges, including “corruption”, “breach of trust” and “false business records”.

"FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and in exchange for money, the latter carries out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in decisions by the referees," said the public prosecutor's office.

Barcelona have denied the charges, while Enriquez Negreira has said that he was being paid in an advisory role to explain to players how best to handle different referees.

Barca president Joan Laporta says that that there is a smear campaign ongoing against Barcelona and insists that the club is innocent against accusations of refereeing corruption.

What did Laporta say?

“Barcelona fans, calm down. We are innocent,” Laporta said.

“We are the victims of a horrible smear campaign against us, in which now everyone is involved.

“But we are not surprised, we will prove our innocence and many will have to rectify."