UEFA, the governing body of European football, has launched an investigation into alleged unlawful payments made by FC Barcelona to José Mara Enrquez Negreira, a former leading referee in Spain.
The Catalan club was charged earlier this month by the Barcelona provincial prosecutor’s office.
With “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field,” among other things, in connection with an alleged payment scandal that has rocked Spanish football.
“UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors were appointed today to conduct an investigation into FC Barcelona’s potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework in connection with the so-called ‘Caso Negreira,'” UEFA stated in a statement.
When asked about possible punishments if the club is found guilty.
UEFA stated, for any potential infringement of UEFA’s legal framework.
The governing body’s laws stipulate punishments ranging from warnings and fines to “exclusion from future competitions.”
Along with Negreira, former FCB presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, former club CEO Oscar Grau, and former club director of professional sports Albert Soler have been prosecuted.
According to a written complaint from the Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office.
Barça and the other accused have also been charged with “the crime of continued false administration and the crime of continued falsification of commercial documents.”
The charges were presented to Barcelona’s No. 1 magistrate’s court.
According to an FCB source, the club did not have an official statement at the time.
But its initial reaction was that the charges were to be expected given recent events.
But that the report was an “absolutely preliminary investigative hypothesis” and that the club would assist the investigation in any way possible.
The source also categorically denied that the club ever bribed a referee or attempted to influence a referee’s judgment.
At the time, Spanish lawyer Jose Maria Fuster Fabra acknowledged that he is representing Bartomeu in the case.
“We are preparing the defense, and we do not believe this case will go to trial,” he said, declining to make any additional comments.