As expected, UEFA has opened the Negreira folder and begun an investigation against Futbol Club Barcelona. From what is known so far, there is hardly a solid judicial case, because from the various documents that have been published out of the extensive documentation that exists in the legal summary, it cannot be concluded that the Barcelona club sought to alter the competition or competitions in which it participated. It can be considered that the amount paid between the Barça presidencies of Joan Gaspart and Josep Maria Bartomeu, with various figures of responsibility within the club implicated, has been absolutely insane, and that is true, because we are talking about approximately seven million euros going into the hands of the former vice-president of Spain's technical committee of referees, José María Enríquez Negreira.
Any football fan with a minimal sense of balance knows that for the collective of referees, Barça has never been an option treated with great sympathy. That this is now being called into question shows the extent to which we are in a clearly adulterated process, which aims to harm Barça and with dark interests. Because it's one thing to be an idiot and another to be a crook, and everything places us more in the first category than the second. With this, I repeat, I don't mean to argue that everything has been done well, but rather that the proof of a crime being committed does not appear anywhere, so it may very well be that, simply, there is none. Another thing is UEFA's announcement that it will intervene in the matter based on the newspaper clippings and without any indication, judicially speaking, of guilt.
Be that as it may, this must greatly concern Barça. The European body's laconic statement is a clear statement of intent: "In accordance with Article 31 (4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, UEFA's Ethical and Disciplinary Inspectors have today been appointed to carry out an investigation into a possible violation of UEFA's legal framework by FC Barcelona in relation to the so-called Negreira Case". That is sufficient to worry about, given the bad relations between the Barcelona club and the president of UEFA, the Slovenian Aleksander Čeferin, with whom there is a litigation as important as that of the European Super League, which fully affects the international governing body of European football, because it is a clear competitor. Now, to put in bluntly, Čeferin has got hold of Barça by the short and curlies and, given UEFA's characteristic arbitrariness, he has a lot of discretionary margin to tighten his grip.
It should also be remembered that there have already been attempts to sanction the blaugrana club due to the financial situation, that the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantin, is also waiting for his turn to act against Barça and that the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has already spoken out more like an anti-Barcelona fanatic than the representative of the football clubs of Spain. With this outlook, it is quite obvious that the problem of the entity presided over by Joan Laporta is not in the courts but in the Spanish, European and world football bodies and with the Super League as a backdrop. There are many clubs on the continent ready to applaud a sanction to Barça if it meant the Super League of the major clubs disappeared from the list of scenarios for the near future. Could a definitive resignation of Barça from the Super League ease the situation? Certainly. Does Barça have the financial margin to do that? Very difficult.
But living with the threat of a major sporting and economic sanction is too heavy a sword of Damocles. The few trump cards that Barça has to reverse the threats from the international sports bodies will have to be played in Switzerland, where everything points to the final hand being dealt.