Spanish Sports Council takes charge of ‘crisis’-hit RFEF ahead of new elections

April 26 – The Spanish government has formed a special committee to oversee the country’s football federation (RFEF) until the governing body holds fresh elections following the scandal surrounding its former president, Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales was arrested earlier this month as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation and is separately due to go on trial over the infamous ‘kissgate’ scandal involving Spanish World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso.

Spain’s National Sports Council said it was taking the extraordinary measure for the coming months “in response to the crisis the institution is facing and in Spain’s national interests”.

“The Spanish government has taken this decision in order to correct the serious situation that the RFEF is going through and to allow the organisation to begin a period of regeneration,” it added.

The council is the government agency that is responsible for sport in Spain and its statement added that the committee would be led by “independent persons of recognised prestige”.

Spanish authorities are particularly concerned about the reputational damage to the federation with the country set to co-host the 2030 men’s World Cup with Portugal and Morocco.

FIFA and UEFA say they are closely monitoring the situation with great concern. FIFA regulations state that member nations shall manage their affairs independently without influence from third parties.

“FIFA and UEFA will seek additional information to assess the extent to which the CSD’s appointment of the so-called ‘Supervision, Normalisation and Representation Commission’ may affect the RFEF’s obligation to manage its affairs independently and without undue government interference,” they said in a joint statement.

Investigations into corruption during Rubiales’ tenure led to police raiding the RFEF headquarters in Madrid last month, resulting in the firing of other members of the federation.

Pedro Rocha, who was standing in as president, was also placed under investigation after he testified as a witness in the corruption probe.

Rocha was the only candidate to succeed Rubiales in becoming president permanently, and said he had “no knowledge nor, therefore, any responsibility for the facts that are being investigated”.

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