September 1 – One key figure will conspicuous by his absence when Spain take on Italy in the mother of all World Cup qualifiers on Saturday in Madrid.
How times have changed for Angel Maria Villar, who only 16 months ago in his role as acting UEFA president took centre stage when he presented the Champions League trophy to Real Madrid after Michel Platini’s demise.
Villar was the longest-serving vice-president of both FIFA and UEFA but has been keeping a low profile since relinquishing both posts and paying €300,000 of bail money to leave the Madrid prison where he was initially held following arrest. He is accused of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.
According to Spanish reports, the vast majority of the regional federations who used to support Villar have now turned their backs on him including Juan Luis Larrea, the current acting president, who was Spanish FA treasurer throughout his 29-year tenure.
Earlier this week Spain’s 19 regional federations and the government’s council for sport (CSD) unanimously called for Villar to stand down for good. If he doesn’t, a vote of no confidence could take place in November.
Larrea agreed that Villar must go, but in his own time. “He will leave when he wants,” Larrea said. “Villar has been in the federation for 29 years and we have to give him time to leave.”
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