Football chiefs facing disciplinary measures

SPAIN’S administrative court for sport has formally opened disciplinary procedures against Ángel María Villar, head of the country’s football association (RFEF), following his arrest last week in cases pertaining to corruption.

The shocking controversy, involving two Tenerife officials among others, also paved way for Spain’s sports authority, the Higher Council of Sport, to rule whether to suspend Villar temporarily when they convene on Tuesday at 5pm.

The 67-year-old was jailed alongside his son, Gorka (both pictured), and Federation members after the police raids.

The administrative court’s decision was on the cards since last Thursday, when the sport’s Higher Council asked it to act against Villar following his arrest.

The Spanish league (LFP), which runs the top two La Liga divisions of club football, as well as the women’s club league, has announced that it would take part in the case against Villar as  an injured party.

La Liga President Javier Tebas has been a long-time critic of Villar and the Federation, which looks after the functioning of the national teams, the calendar of club competitions, and the domestic competition Copa del Rey, among other facets of Spanish football.

Villar; his son Gorka; Juan Padron, Federation Vice-President and President of Tenerife’s Regional Football Federation, plus Ramon Hernandez, Secretary of Tenerife’s RFF, were arrested last week when the police raided the national federation’s headquarters and other properties.

They were held on charges of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.

National Court judge Santiago Pedraz ordered last week that Villars and Padron remain in jail without bail. Meanwhile, Hernandez’s bail was set at 100,000 euros

Angel Maria, also Fifa’s Senior Vice-President and a Uefa Vice-President, has been the President of the Spanish Federation since 1988.

Inigo Mendez de Vigo, the Spanish Government’s Sports Minister, said the government was ready to take charge of the Federation operations to prevent the running of Spain’s major football from being smeared  by the scandal.

The calendar-scheduling for the first two divisions of La Liga football was delayed by a day following the arrests.

The police raids on offices and homes last Tuesday took around four hours, culminating in the high-profile people arrested on charges relating to back-handers and favouritism, unauthorised personal profit, embezzlement and forgery linked to organising international football matches.

The Balearic Islands Federation headquarters, the Comunidad Valenciana, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the two Spanish-owned enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, on the northern Moroccan coast, have all been searched.

“Operation Soule”, as the case is now known, has led to the Valencia region’s Federation Chairman Vicente Muñoz, who has been in the role since 1986, placed under police scrutiny.

That’s partly because he owns a travel agency, which may have been linked to the scam. But he was not been taken into custody.

Villar’s son, sports lawyer Gorka, has also been taken into custody, while in Melilla, the RFEF regional chairman Diego Martínez Gómez has, as yet, escaped arrest. And it is not known whether he has been charged for any offence, although he is regarded in the sports world as Villar’s right-hand man.

Curiously, the RFEF was set to approve a “good conduct” and “transparent management” code, drawn up by Villar himself after he was re-elected in May.

Although the case remains sub-judice, the Guardia Civil is probing events dating back as far as 2009, including two friendlies between Spain and South Korea, in 2010 and 2012, in the preparatory rounds for the World Cup and Uefa Euros, both of which Spain won in these years.

There is no issue about the validity of Spain’s epic wins, which comprised a hat-trick at the highest level, starting with the Uefa Euros in 2008 and 2010, and the 2012 World Cup.

Instead, the case relates to illegal commissions and back-handers between RFEF figureheads and various companies linked to international matches, including football clubs Recreativo and Marino.

Police have revealed that pen drives seized containing “hidden” documents found could add up two terabytes (2TB) of data.


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Posted by on Jul 28 2017. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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