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Spanish Football Federation President Arrested
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Angel Maria Villar

Summary: Police arrested the president of the Spanish Football Federation along with his son and three others as part of an anti-corruption investigation.

The president of the Spanish Football Federation, Angel Maria Villar, was arrested by Spain’s Guardia Civil as part of an anti-corruption probe that also nabbed his son and three other Federation executives. He was arrested on suspicion of embezzling funds and arranging matches for Spain that led to business deals benefiting his son.

  
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Authorities stated that Villar, his son Gorka Villar and three other soccer officials were detained while raids were conducted at the Federation headquarters. Villar is also the senior vice president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and senior vice president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The other executives arrested were Juan Padron, the federation’s vice president of economic affairs, and the president and the secretary of the regional federation for Tenerife.

The charges against the men are improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents. The investigation was looking into the finances of the Federation with the Guardia Civil’s anti-corruption unit “SOULE” carrying out the raid.

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Spain’s minister of education, culture, and sports Inigo Mendez de Vigo told media after the raid that “In Spain the laws are enforced, the laws are the same for all, and nobody, nobody is above the law.”

Villar has been leading the country’s soccer federation since 1988. He has been involved in soccer politics with FIFA and UEFA since the 1990s, working closely with other international soccer leaders that have been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice. He started out as a midfielder for Athletic Bilbao and Spain before he retired to become a lawyer and soccer administrator. He has been on the UEFA executive committee for 25 years ago and FIFA’s ruling committee for 19 years ago. He was reprimanded by FIFA in 2014 for failing to comply with its internal inquiry for the 2018/22 World Cup bidding process.



Villar’s son Gorka has been working with the South American body CONMEBOL as a legal director and then as director general for three presidents who have also been implicated in the American federal investigation. He left them last July after being accused of extortion by several Uruguayan football clubs.

Gorka was a prominent sports lawyer in Madrid before joining CONMEBOL. He represented cyclist Alberto Contador in an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport but they failed. Contador lost the 2010 Tour de France title after receiving a positive on a doping test.

Villar was seen as someone with leadership abilities but he lost out in trying to succeed Michel Platini as UEFA president last year. During his time as president, Spain has won two European championships and a 2010 World Cup.

Soccer has been dealt a hard blow over the last few years as allegations of corruption and abuse have emerged against their governing bodies and others.

Do you think there is more corruption out there than anyone realizes? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about previous arrests of soccer officials, read these articles:

Photo: elperiodico.com



 

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