Negreira scandal: UEFA opens INVESTIGATION into Barcelona

March 23, 2023

European football’s top governing body UEFA has opened an investigation into Barcelona’s ongoing referee payments scandal known as the ‘Negreira case.’

The Catalan club landed in hot water after it was revealed that they paid monies totalling €7.3 million to former Referee’s Committee vice-president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018.

Prosecutors argue that the club paid Negreira to have “actions tending to favour” them in matches and competitions.

The former referee chief is already facing an investigation in the Spanish tax office over missed tax. At the same time, the Anti-Corruption Department has launched an investigation based on ‘continuous corruption’ too.

Meanwhile, Barcelona is facing scrutiny from La Liga authorities and clubs. However, they deny any wrongdoing, claiming they never earned favour among match officials due to the payments made to Negreira.

The Spanish giants claim they are investigating the matter and promised a press conference explaining the payments. 

Since the case happened years ago, Spanish league rules do not allow La Liga to launch a private investigation. Therefore, Liga President Javier Tebas wrote to UEFA to bring the matter to their attention.

A statement by UEFA has now confirmed that they will open their own investigation. The football governing body says they are investigating Barca’s potential violation of the governing body’s legal framework. 

“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’ the statement read via The BBC

“Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course.”

Barcelona’s long-time rivals Real Madrid are also putting themselves forward as private prosecutors in the case, arguing they were victims of Barça’s alleged wrongdoing.

Should Barcelona be found guilty of breaching UEFA regulations, they could be expelled from European competition. But UEFA, Spanish authorities and the prosecutors 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.

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