Uefa has launched an investigation into payments made by Barcelona to a former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee.
Uefa has appointed ethics and disciplinary investigators to investigate alleged payments for favorable refereeing decisions.
Barcelona has been charged with “corruption,” “breach of trust,” and “false business records,” according to a court hearing.
Prosecutors claim Barca paid Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira and his Dasnil 95 company 8.4 million euros (£7.4 million).
Barcelona, which denies any wrongdoing, acknowledged the payments to Dasnil 95 were made between 2001 and 2018.
“Ethics and disciplinary inspectors have been appointed to conduct an investigation into a potential violation of Uefa’s legal framework by FC Barcelona in connection with the so-called ‘Caso Negreira,'” according to Uefa.
The payments, revealed by radio station Ser Catalunya, came to light as a result of a tax investigation into Dasnil 95.
“FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and in exchange for money, the latter carries out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in decisions by the referees,” said the public prosecutor’s office.
The Catalan club described the company as a “external technical consultant” who was paid to compile video reports on professional referees “in order to supplement the information required by the coaching staff.”
Former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as Negreira, have all been charged.
The public prosecutor’s office in Barcelona filed the lawsuits.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that if current Barcelona president Joan Laporta is unable to explain the payments, he should resign.
Real Madrid stated that it will “appear at the trial when the judge opens it up to the affected parties in defense of its legitimate rights.”