Will Barcelona play European football in 2023-24? Joan Laporta reacts to talk of UEFA ban due to Negreira scandal
- Catalan giants paid referee's chief
- Rivals calling for action to be taken
- Blaugrana insist they did nothing wrong
WHAT HAPPENED? The Catalan giants are under investigation from La Liga and UEFA after it was revealed that they had made several payments to the former vice-president of the Spanish Referee’s Committee between 2001 and 2018. Legal proceedings are underway, while Barca face the threat of sanctions from domestic and European governing bodies. There have been suggestions that they could be barred from competing in the 2023-24 Champions League, but Laporta believes that the efforts of La Liga president Javier Tebas to tarnish Barca’s reputation will come to nothing.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Laporta has said: “If I have spoken of Tebas it has been because, as president of the LFP, he is behaving absolutely irresponsibly. He is trying to harm the reputation of FCB. He has a series of constant actions, with his statements, in which he validates hypotheses that are false. He says that Barca had recognised that these services did not exist and that is not the case. Thanks to the compliance work, from 2014 to 2018. Mr. Tebas tried to get UEFA to participate in this public lynching.
"Initially, Mr. Ceferin made some statements, but now he is acting prudently. So far, Ceferin has not fallen into Mr. Tebas's trap. I think that throughout the history of football there have been real scandals. Here a false hypothesis is validated. From the inputs I have, UEFA understands that this is in a judicial process. I understand that it will be pronounced when there is a trial. We will carry on as normal.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Blaugrana supremo Laporta has also claimed that Barca are being targeted due to their support for the failed Super League plans that threatened to wrestle power away from UEFA. He added on the allegations made against Barca: “Nothing is accidental. This campaign comes when Barca begins to come out of a tunnel. We have saved Barça financially. We are competing well too. I see here a clear reason to try to destabilise us sportingly. That is why we have to be more united than ever.
"Coincidentally, the campaign also explodes when FCB does not sign the agreement with CVC. We do not bow to their interests. We prefer other much better options for Barca's economic interests. It is evident that this is no coincidence. This campaign also occurs when Barca is working for a new European competition format. They are trying to get UEFA to join this public lynching. It is no coincidence. This campaign is gaining momentum just as FCB awards the Camp Nou works to an international company. All these coincidences explain why. This added to what I have been explaining before.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Barcelona are currently 11 points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the Liga table, as they close in another title triumph, and will be expecting to compete with the European elite in some capacity next season.