29th May 2024
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Spain’s Football Federation sacks directors linked to corruption investigation

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has sacked various directors linked to a corruption probe.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the RFEF said they had ‘opened disciplinary proceedings’ against and sacked their director of legal services, Pedro González Segura and director of human resources, José Javier Jiménez, both of whom had been arrested on Wednesday.

The RFEF also said they had terminated a contract with GC Legal, the law firm of Tomás González Cueto, who was also arrested as part of a Spanish court’s investigation into alleged corruption, fraudulent administration and money laundering.

Police had searched the RFEF headquarters on the outskirts of Madrid on Wednesday, along with disgraced former chief Luis Rubiales property in Granada (Andalusia). The office for Spain’s state prosecutors said that a total of 11 premises were raided for documents on Wednesday.

Rubiales was identified as one of five additional individuals put under investigation, according to Spanish media reports,  although no arrest warrant has been issued by the court.

The 46-year-old is currently in the Dominican Republic but is set to return to Spain on 6 April, according to Spanish media, who report the investigation concerns contracts signed by Rubiales to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, among other matters. Rubiales’ lawyer informed a Madrid-based court in the hours after the raids that his would be willing to come back to Spain sooner if requested by a judge.

The Super Cup contracts signed are worth €40 million a year and were arranged with former footballer Gerard Piqué’s company Kosmos acting as an intermediary. ALSO READ: Gerard Piqué in spotlight over €24m Spanish Super Cup deal in Saudi Arabia.

Rubiales stepped down as RFEF president in September after forcibly kissing Women’s World Cup star Jenni Hermoso to provoke worldwide outrage, following Spain’s triumph in the Sydney final in August. A Spanish judge said in January that Rubiales will face trial over the incident. ALSO READ: Luis Rubiales to face trial for kissing Jenni Hermoso at Women’s World Cup.

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said he and the squad did not notice the police’s arrival at the RFEF’s Las Rozas headquarters where the squad were based before flying to London to face Colombia in a friendly on Friday.

‘We did not realise, we were focused on our own thing,’ De la Fuente told reporters. ‘It won’t affect our work but we’re not oblivious to the reality – let’s hope they investigate and find out who is responsible, if anyone is.’

The Spanish Super Cup took place for the first time in Saudi Arabia in 2020. After the following edition returned to Spain because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the subsequent three competitions were back in Saudi Arabia.

Spanish prosecutors opened a probe in 2022 into the Super Cup deal after audio recordings between Rubiales and Pique were leaked in which they spoke of commissions worth multi-millions. ALSO READ: Gerard Piqué in spotlight over €24m Spanish Super Cup deal in Saudi Arabia.

Rubiales has always defended the legality of the deal to take the Super Cup to the oil-rich Gulf state.

‘If there is any type of commission, Kosmos will get it from Saudi Arabia – the federation has not paid, is not paying and will not pay a single euro in commission to anyone for this deal,’ Rubiales said in 2022.

Former Barcelona and Spain defender Piqué said in April 2022 ‘everything is legal’ and that he was ‘proud’ of the deal.

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