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Barcelona has been provisionally cleared to participate in the upcoming 2023-24 Champions League despite an ongoing investigation by Uefa into allegations of payments made to a referees'

chief. The European football governing body confirmed its inquiry into claims of payments made by Barcelona to secure favorable refereeing decisions but the club has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

While Uefa has granted Barcelona the temporary clearance to participate in European competition, the governing body has reserved the right to take appropriate actions against the club if deemed necessary in the future.

The investigation by Uefa was prompted by a criminal investigation launched by the Barcelona public prosecutor's office in March. The allegations centered around alleged payments of 8.4 million euros (£7.4 million) to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of Spain's referees' committee, and his company Dasnil 95.

Barcelona, former club officials, and Negreira were accused of "corruption," "breach of trust," and "false business records."

Uefa stated, "The investigators in charge of the case are invited to continue and finalize their investigation and to send a further report to the appeals body if and when they consider that the admission/exclusion of FC Barcelona [in the Champions League] should be assessed."

The payments came to light after a radio station Ser Catalunya investigation revealed the financial transactions involving Negreira's company Dasnil 95. Barcelona reportedly made payments totaling 1.4 million euros (£1.2 million) between 2016 and 2018, and Negreira received approximately 7 million euros (£6.2 million) between 2001 and 2018, the year he stepped down from his position with the referees' committee.

Barcelona acknowledged the payments made to Dasnil 95, describing the company as an "external technical consultant" responsible for compiling video reports related to professional referees, which aimed to supplement the information required by the coaching staff. The club also stated that contracting such reports was a common practice among professional football clubs.

The situation raised significant concerns among the other La Liga clubs, with 18 out of the 20 clubs expressing their deep concern over the matter. In response, Barcelona president Joan Laporta assured that the club would conduct an internal investigation into the payments. Photo by Thingstodoinbarcelona, Wikimedia commons.