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Barcelona face possible UEFA ban amid referee bribery allegations

Barcelona could be banned from playing in next season’s Champions League, according to Onda Cero.

The La Liga club are being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office for paying Dansil95 €6.7 million.

The company is owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreir, an ex-vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) between 1994 and 2018.

Marca claim that Barca paid Negreir between 2001 and 2018, as opposed to earlier reports that it only happened for two years.

Sporting sanctions cannot be taken against the Catalans in Spain, as it has been over three years since the incident took place.

However, sports lawyer Jorge Vaquero has told Onda Cero that UEFA are not prevented by a statute of limitations.

Article 4, section 4.01, sub-section H of the regulations of the Champions League could stop Barca from competing next term.

It states that to be eligible to participate in the competition, clubs must inform UEFA about any and all proceedings before disciplinary bodies or state courts implicating the club or its officials in any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at national or international level. This has to be done whether or not the club or its officials have been acquitted.

Barca insist they only made payments to hire the services of an ‘external technical consultant’. However, ongoing investigations could end up proving otherwise.

It remains to be seen how exactly the Prosecutor’s Office will prove that games were fixed in the club’s favour.

UEFA will not hesitate to act if it is determined that Negreira’s relationship with Barca influenced the outcome of matches.

Section 4.02 of their regulations says they will declare erring clubs ineligible to participate in the competition for one season.

The La Liga leaders have been faced with one scandal or the other since they signed Neymar in 2013.

Things could get very interesting in the coming days, weeks and months. One thing is certain, this saga is far from over and it is a can of worms for Barcelona.

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