Competition Focus

Barcelona cleared to play in 2023-24 Champions League by UEFA

UEFA has confirmed that Barcelona are free to compete in the Champions League this season — but has not ruled out future sanctions.

Barcelona faced the prospect of being excluded from European competition after they were charged with corruption back in March.

That charge centred around payments made to the former referee and vice-president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

Enriquez Negreira denied ever favouring Barcelona in terms of refereeing decisions. Barcelona also deny any wrongdoing and say they hired him as an “external consultant” who provided reports “related to professional refereeing”.

UEFA launched an investigation into the case and has now provisionally cleared Barcelona to play in Europe’s premier competition this season.

But, with the legal case still ongoing, European football’s governing body has reserved the right to punish the club in the future.

A statement read: “The UEFA Appeals Body has taken the following decision with regards to the admission of FC Barcelona in the 2023/24 UEFA club competitions.

“The proceedings concerning the admission of FC Barcelona to the 2023/2024 UEFA club competitions are suspended and may be resumed, ex officio, or at the request of the Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors (EDIs) in charge of the case.

“FC Barcelona is provisionally admitted to take part in the 2023/2024 UEFA club competitions. A future decision on admission/exclusion from the UEFA club competitions is reserved.

“FC Barcelona is obliged to keep the EDIs informed of the progress of the ongoing investigations proactively and to provide the EDIs with all the documents and information they request.

“The EDIs in charge of the case are invited to continue and finalise their investigation and to send a further report to the UEFA Appeals Body if and when they consider that the admission/exclusion of FC Barcelona should be assessed.”


Barca and the Negreira scandal: Still in Europe but no resolution in sight

(Photo: Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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