UEFA could take a serious step regarding the so-called “Negreira case” and ban FC Barcelona from the UEFA Champions League, according to a report from Spanish newspaper El Confidencial.
The scandal stems from payments made to José María Enríquez Negreira, who was vice-president of the referee’s technical committee. According to the club, these payments were made in exchange for written reports about referees’ performances, and all payments were legal and did not influence any decisions on the pitch.
The case is being investigated by various legal entities, but it will be up to the organization led by Aleksander Čeferin to see if Barcelona ran afoul of any UEFA regulations.
If UEFA were to ban Barcelona from European competitions, that would not only pose a sporting and image problem, but a financial one for the Catalans. Playing in the Champions League has been the biggest way to generate income for the club, and being away from it even if only for one year, would be a critical issue. This, especially, as the club already has a precarious financial situation.
UEFA has various rules and regulations surrounding corruption and any attempt to influence referees. UEFA’s investigation is said to already be underway to determine whether the blaugrana broke any of them.