By John Ensor • 24 March 2023 • 14:33
Barcelona face match-fix allegations/Shutterstock
UEFA has requested their own investigation as of Thursday, and the matter is already being looked into by Spanish prosecutors.
UEFA’s rules for the Champions League, which have been in effect since 2007, have harsh penalties for teams involved in match-fixing, including a one-season ban.
Court documents show from 2001–2018 Barcelona paid €7.3 million (£6.4 million) to two companies: DASNIL and NILSAT both owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee.
FC Barcelona have been formally accused by Spanish prosecutors of corruption in sports, fraudulent management and falsification of business documents, in their belief that the club kept Negreira sweet to ensure ‘favourable decisions’ were made by referees.
Barcelona has consistently denied any wrongdoing, saying that the payments were for technical reports on referees, but insists they have never tried to influence referees.
Former directors of Barcelona and Negreira have both made similar statements indicating his services were sought to guarantee ‘neutral refereeing’.
If any of the allegations are proven true UEFA could exclude Barcelona from its competitions for one year and prosecute a disciplinary case.
Barcelona is almost certain to qualify for next season’s Champions League – an entry that would pay tens of millions to the club
However a ban from the Champions League competition would be a major blow to the club who are hoping to rebuild the crumbling Camp Nou at a cost of £1.3billion (€1.5b)
Barcelona, who reported record losses last year, face other financial woes including a colossal wage bill of £582million (€661.5m).
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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