Rocha takes RFEF leadership as FIFA warns Spanish politicians against interference

April 4 – The Spanish football federation (RFEF) has appointed Pedro Rocha as its new president following the resignation of disgraced former chief Luis Rubiales who stepped down last September.

But it came amid an increasing war of words with FIFA and UEFA with Rocha (pictured), who been filling the role on an interim basis, currently under investigation as part of a corruption and money laundering case involving the Spanish Super Cup being taken to Saudi Arabia.

Last week the Spanish government created a committee to oversee the scandal-hit organisation “in response to the federation’s crisis”. But they did not suspend Rocha who was instead elected to succeed Rubiales.

“Pedro Rocha has today been proclaimed the new president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), after having received the support of the majority of the assembly members of this institution that governs Spanish football,” said the federation at the time. “This was agreed by the electoral commission.”

With Spain due to host the 2030 World Cup along with Portugal and Morocco, FIFA and UEFA issued a joint statement last Thursday expressing “great concern” at the government stepping in to manage RFEF’s affairs.

“FIFA and UEFA will seek additional information to assess the extent to which the  appointment (of the committee)… may affect the RFEF’s obligation to manage its affairs independently and without undue government interference,” they said.

Responding, Spain’s Secretary of State for Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, insisted the government was entirely within its rights.

“You should know that the current Sports Law in Spain… indicates in its article 1.2 that “the General Administration of the State is responsible for the representation of Spanish sports and public supervision of the sector in those aspects.”

“We cannot allow this situation of serious deterioration of an RFEF that has been immersed for too long in suspicions of corruption and subjected to criminal and disciplinary cases that worry football fans and the entire public opinion and media. The irresponsible thing would be to stand by and do nothing, while the damage to reputation, to the country, continues to grow.”

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