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UEFA opened an investigation into the payments he made In a statement today, Thursday, the authority confirmed that Barcelona had submitted to a former vice-president of the arbitration committee in Spain.
Barcelona paid Jose Maria Enriquez Negrera more than €7m between 2001 and 2018, with Spanish prosecutors claiming they sought preferential treatment from match officials as part of the agreement.
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The Catalan club denied any wrongdoing, saying that they had not “bought referees or influence” and that Negrera was tasked with providing “technical reports on arbitration.”
LaLiga cannot act against Barcelona due to Spain’s statute of limitations, but UEFA can intervene.
“In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, the UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors have been appointed to carry out an investigation regarding a possible breach of UEFA’s legal framework by Barcelona in relation to the so-called ‘Caso Negreira,'” the statement said.
UEFA added that “further information will be provided on this matter in due course.”
A Barcelona court last week accepted the charges brought by the plaintiffs, and the judge agreed to investigate the case as other Spanish sports clubs and institutions added their name to the complaint as claimants.
Spain’s High Council of Sports (CSD) has confirmed that it will join the prosecutors’ investigation, and Real Madrid has also announced that it will join the case “in defense of our legitimate interests” after being the only club in La Liga not to sign LaLiga’s initial statement. Teams condemn Barcelona’s actions.
La Liga president Javier Tebas said he did not believe Barcelona bought the referees but called on club president Joan Laporta to explain what he described as the “biggest reputational crisis” in the league’s history.
Laporta said that ongoing leaks and stories are the subject of a campaign against Barcelona and that he will work hard to clear the club’s name.
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