In the latest scandal to hit Spanish soccer, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Ángel María Villar, was arrested on Tuesday morning as part of an ongoing operation targeting the upper echelons of the sport’s top body in the country.
The operation into alleged financial mismanagement by the federation president and his son began more than a year ago
His son Gorka Villar was also detained in a raid that involved numerous searches, and was expected to result in a dozen arrests, sources close to the investigation have told EL PAÍS.
The operation into alleged financial mismanagement by the federation president and his son began more than a year ago, and is being carried out under the supervision of Spanish High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz. Possible crimes under investigation include corruption, embezzlement, improper management and possible asset stripping.
Authorities believe Ángel María Villar may have used federation funds to pay off regional soccer chiefs in a bid to maintain control at the top of the powerful federation. Villar was returned to office for a new four-year term in May, the eighth such occasion on which he has seen his contract renewed.
He has now been in the top job at the RFEF for 29 years. If he serves out his current term – which he has said will be his last – that will extend out to 32 years of a tenure marked by close relationships with the top brass of world soccer’s top body FIFA, an organization that has been marked by a wave of recent corruption scandals.
English version by George Mills.