Despite allegations of corruption, FC Barcelona will probably be allowed to play in the Champions League next season. UEFA came to this conclusion after investigating the “Negreira case”.
As the European association announced on Thursday (July 27th, 2023), the procedure for admitting the Catalans to the 2023/24 UEFA club competitions had been “suspended”. As a result, the club was “provisionally” admitted to participate in the premier class. Last March, UEFA appointed Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors (EDIs) to investigate a “possible breach of the legal framework” at the club.
The Spanish champions were accused by the public prosecutor’s office of having paid around 7.3 million euros to the company of former referee boss Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018. According to prosecutors, the Catalans are said to have paid for refereeing decisions in their favour. The club, on the other hand, claimed that they only transferred the sum for reports and advice.
UEFA could change its mind
According to UEFA, the suspended proceedings “can be resumed ex officio or at the request of the ethics and disciplinary inspectors in charge of the case”. Accordingly, the governing body also reserves the right to make a future decision on the admission or exclusion of Barcelona from the UEFA club competitions.
The EDIs are urged to “continue and complete their investigations and submit a further report to the UEFA Appeals Committee if and when they consider that FC Barcelona’s admission/exclusion needs to be assessed”.