Police raid Spanish FA and arrest 6 in probe into RFEF deal for Super Cup in Saudi

March 21 – Spanish police have arrested at least six people and raided the offices of the Spanish FA (RFEF) as well as a property belonging to former president Luis Rubiales as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation reportedly linked to taking the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia in a multimillion-euro deal.

Spain’s Guardia Civil said that Rubiales, who stepped down in September and was banned for three years by FIFA after causing an international scandal for kissing Spanish World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso without her consent, was not among the six arrested and was out of the country.

The office for Spain’s state prosecutors said that a total of 11 premises were raided across the country, reportedly including in Madrid and Granada where Rubiales has an apartment, and that it expected the operation to conclude with more arrests.

The RFEF said it was “deeply concerned” by the search of its headquarters and has offered its full cooperation.

Four years ago, Rubiales, currently awaiting trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Hermoso – a charge he denies – angered football traditionalists by expanding the contest between the league champions and Copa del Rey winners to a four-team format, shifting the event from August to January and hosting it outside Spain – a deal reportedly worth €120 million.

Prosecutors opened a probe into the arrangement in 2022 following a leaked audio conversation between Rubiales and then-Barcelona defender Gerard Pique regarding millions of dollars in commissions.

The website El Confidencial published leaked audio recordings from 2019 that revealed details about a contract allegedly negotiated between the pair.

According to El Confidencial, the contract included Pique’s sports agency Kosmos receiving €4 million for each of six tournaments to be played in Saudi Arabia from 2020.

The revelations claimed Kosmos acted as intermediary in the agreement between the Spanish FA and the Saudis.

Rubiales vehemently denied at the time that there was anything improper and said the agreement signed with Saudi Arabia was done in a “transparent, honourable, legal” way and was “beneficial” for Spanish football.

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