Competition Focus

UEFA Reveals FC Barcelona Champions League Participation Decision

Through a statement seen by Spanish media, European football governing body UEFA
has revealed its decision regarding FC Barcelona’s participation in the Champions League next season.

UEFA launched its own investigation into the ‘Caso Negreira’ Referees Committee payments scandal as a reaction to Barca being charged with “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field” by the Barcelona provincial prosecutor’s office in March.

This development came after it was revealed that the club made payments to the Former Vice President of the Technical Committee of Referees, Jose Maria Enrique Negreira.

According to El Mundo, the Catalans spent almost €7 million ($7.7 million) on payments to Negreira from 2001 to 2018, which includes current club president Joan Laporta’s first reign from 2003 to 2010.

Reports spread that Barca feared they would banned from the Champions League next season as punishment for the payments, which Laporta has continually protested were made honestly for consultation work.

On June 1, two UEFA
-appointed inspectors concluded that Barca should be frozen out of the elite competition according to ABC.

With just over a fortnight to spare until many European leagues get underway, UEFA announced that Barca are “provisionally admitted to participate in the 2023/2024 UEFA club competitions” meaning they can contest the Champions League which they have qualified for as La Liga winners for the first time in four years.

The authority added that it secures its right to review the decision in the future and reserves the right to make a future decision on admission or exclusion from UEFA club competitions moving forward.

Furthermore, the Catalans have been urged to keep UEFA’s Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors (EDIs) “proactively informed of the progress of ongoing investigations” and to provide them with “all documents and information they request”.

Barca have not had the ‘Caso Negreira’ heard in a legal court as of yet, which makes it difficult for UEFA to already pass judgement and hand down its own punishment.

With this in mind, UEFA has invited the investigators in charge of Barca’s case “to continue and finalize their investigation and send a new report to the UEFA Appeals Body when they consider that Barcelona’s admission/exclusion should be assessed”.

The news will come as a relief to Laporta and Barca head coach Xavi Hernandez, who have aspirations for their team to compete on the continent after back-to-back group exits over the last two seasons.

As things stand, Barca will be among the 32 teams taking part in the Champions League draw ceremony which is set to be held at 18.00 CET on August 31.

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