UEFA have confirmed they will launch an investigation into Barcelona’s payments to a former refereeing chief.
The ‘Negreira Case’ has dominated headlines for a little while and looks set to continue to do so with UEFA now getting involved.
The Catalans are already facing corruption charges, brought by Spanish prosecutors, and will also face scrutiny by Europe’s governing body.
Here’s the official statement.
“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.”
It has previously been revealed that Barcelona paid Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of the Referees’ Committee, around €7.3million between 2001 and 2018.
A recent report by EFE has stated that an investigation into the scandal has found no evidence that the payments influenced any on-pitch decisions.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has already confirmed “it’s not possible” for the Spanish league to punish Barcelona, if found guilty, because the matter relates to events that are “time-barred” as they took place more than three years ago.
However, UEFA would be able to take action and there has already been speculation Barcelona could be warned, fine or even banned from the Champions League.
Meanwhile president Joan Laporta has threatened to sue media outlets over allegations related to the Negreira Case. He has also promised an explanation of events which we are still waiting to hear.