Barcelona risk Champions League ban as UEFA investigates alleged match-fixing claims

FOOTBALL Barcelona risk Champions League ban as UEFA investigates alleged match-fixing claims

Kiplagat Sang • 18:23 - 23.03.2023

The matter is also under investigation by Spanish authorities.

UEFA has opened an investigation into Barcelona over allegations of payments of millions of euros to a company linked to a Spanish referee.

The matter is being investigated by prosecutors in Spain, and should Barcelona be found guilty, they risk being expelled from the Champions League.

Regulations, which have been in effect since 2007, give UEFA a mandate to ban teams from the competition for one season if they are found to have been involved in fixing matches.

On Thursday, UEFA said they will conduct an investigation regarding a potential violation of UEFA's legal framework by FC Barcelona in connection with the so-called Caso Negreira.

Court documents have shown that the La Liga giants paid €7.3 million (£6.5 million) from 2001 until 2018 to the company of Jose Mara Enriquez Negreira. Negreira is the former vice president of Spanish football's refereeing committee.

However, there has been no publication indicating that the referees or individuals were influenced.

Amid the allegations, Barcelona have always maintained they are innocent and denied any wrongdoing or conflict of interest.

"Let it be clear: Barcelona have never bought referees, and Barcelona have never had the intention of buying referees, absolutely neve. It's not chance that this comes out now, when Barca are doing well," Joan Laporta, Barcelona president, said earlier regarding the claims.

These charges result from an investigation by Spanish tax authorities into the company, DASNIL 95, which Negreira owns. He was vice president of Spanish football's refereeing committee from 1994 to 2018.

Three payments were identified by the inspectors; between €300,000 (£265,629) and €550,000 (£486,986) made by Barcelona to DASNIL 95.

They found no evidence that Negreira did anything in return for the money but decided to pass the information to state investigators.