Barcelona “will have a Champions League licence in 2023-24″
According to reports, UEFA will not ban Barça from playing in the Champions League next season despite ongoing investigations into the Negreira scandal.
UEFA will grant LaLiga leaders and champions-elect Barcelona a Champions League licence for the 2023-24 season before 15 May, according to Santi Nolla, the editor in chief of Barcelona-based sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo. This will enable Xavi Hernández’s side to take part in the next edition of the competition despite the investigation currently being carried out into the Negreira refereeing ‘scandal’ by the UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body.
“Necessary to prove that Barcelona paid off referees”
As reported by Nolla, UEFA does not posses “any information that supports prohibiting Barcelona from competing” because it has not been proven that there was “clear incompatibility” between the positions José María Enríquez Negreira held as Vice President of Technical Committee of Referees and as owner of the company that received payments from the club. The RFEF (the Spanish Soccer Federation) had already come to the same conclusion. Nolla states that “for the criminal legal process to continue, it is necessary to prove that referees were paid off or that there was an intention to do so. The mere possibility of it is not enough”.
Barça president Laporta attempts to prove club’s innocence
Barça will therefore be able to breathe a sight of relief and president Joan Laporta’s efforts to prove the club’s innocence appear to have come off. First, he sent a letter to the presidents of UEFA and FIFA asking them not to jump to any conclusions before finding out all the details. Then, after addressing fellow LaLiga club president at the LaLiga Assembly in Madrid, he flew out to Ljubljana in Slovenia to explain the situation in person to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
Were Barcelona banned from competing in UEFA competitions, and specifically the Champions League, it is estimated that it would cost them around €70 million.