Barcelona has been provisionally cleared to participate in the 2023-24 Champions League amid an investigation by UEFA into allegations that the club made payments to a referees’ chief for favorable refereeing decisions. The investigation was initiated in response to claims of payments made by Barcelona related to refereeing matters. However, Barcelona has denied any wrongdoing in this matter.
The alleged payments in question were said to be made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee, and his company Dasnil 95. The payments amounted to 8.4 million euros, with Barcelona allegedly paying 1.4 million euros to Dasnil 95 between 2016 and 2018, and approximately 7 million euros to Negreira between 2001 and 2018.
In their defense, Barcelona stated that they paid Dasnil 95 as an “external technical consultant” to compile video reports related to professional referees, which aimed to complement the information required by the coaching staff. The club also claimed that contracting such reports from external consultants was a common practice among professional football clubs.
While UEFA has provisionally allowed Barcelona to participate in the Champions League, they have also reserved the right to take action against the club in the future, pending the conclusion of their investigation. The situation is still under scrutiny, and the investigators are expected to continue their work and submit a further report to UEFA’s appeals body if necessary. Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, has announced that the club will conduct an internal investigation into the matter.