Luis Rubiales on Spanish Super Cup contract: ‘There has been no collusion’

The former president of the RFEF appeared in court Monday as part of Operation Brody and said the federation did not pay commissions to Gerard Piqué

Luis Rubiales upon his arrival Monday at the courthouse in Majadahonda (Madrid).
Luis Rubiales upon his arrival Monday at the courthouse in Majadahonda (Madrid).Mariscal (EFE)
El País

Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), appeared in court Monday within the framework of Operation Brody — a Civil Guard investigation into alleged corruption at the RFEF during Rubiales’ tenure — over the issue of alleged irregular contracts by the federation that point to possible crimes of corruption, unfair administration, and membership of a criminal organization. After he delivered his statement, Judge Delia Rodrigo ordered Rubiales to appear before the court once a month, and as many times as required by the magistrate. In addition, the former RFEF chief, who was dismissed from his position in the wake of the Jenni Hermoso scandal, must request permission from the court if he wishes to leave Spain — a request that must include his dates of departure and return and the address at which will he reside during that time.

Rubiales denied irregularities in the contract with Saudi Arabia by which the Spanish Super Cup tournament was transferred to Riyadh. He defended the agreement and said he considered it was key for soccer following the coronavirus pandemic. The former RFEF president stressed that the contract was signed in the middle of the Covid crisis and maintained that had those revenues not been secured, Spanish soccer may not have survived the effects of lockdown and empty stadiums. He also boasted of his management, after having managed to increase the RFEF’s turnover from €140 million to €400 million, and of having ensured that Spain was awarded the 2030 World Cup along with Portugal and Morocco.

Rubiales explained to the judge that, when he first arrived at the RFEF, the Spanish Super Cup was of little interest to anyone and, thanks to the change of its format to include four teams — while effectively guaranteeing the presence of Real Madrid and Barcelona — it now generates €40 million. When the format was altered, the RFEF received “many calls” expressing interest in hosting the mini-tournament from Qatar, China, Russia, and India, in addition to Saudi Arabia.

According to Rubiales, the first agreement with the Saudis was frustrated because they broke the confidentiality clause. Then former Barcelona player, Gerard Piqué, intervened to resume talks and the RFEF secured a contract worth €40 million per year. “That money saved soccer, because soccer in [the] pandemic would have died,” he emphasized. Rubiales assured that the then-general secretary of the federation, Andreu Camps, gave the go-ahead to play the Super Cup outside Spain — before the move to Saudi Arabia it had been played in Morocco — something for which permission was also requested from FIFA.

The contact with Kosmos, a commercial company owned by Piqué, was not initiated by the RFEF but by the player himself, who also contacted the Saudi company Sela, and the two negotiated Piqué's commission. “There has been no conspiracy,” insisted Rubiales, who recalled that the contract was approved by the ethics committee and the Spanish federation’s compliance department. Rubiales denied having paid commissions to Piqué or Kosmos for the transfer of the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, or having collected them himself.

At the end of his statement, Rubiales told the media: “I have submitted to all the questions of your honor, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and my own lawyer. I will return as many times as necessary. I have been there for four hours and I will be there as many times as is necessary. I am the first person interested in clearing everything up. I was happy in those five years I worked at the Federation. I have felt fulfilled. The management, both at a sporting and economic level, has been very good,” said Rubiales, who concluded: “I have faced all kinds of lawsuits and in fact I am here in court, but what I am sure of is that in the end justice will be done. I have never received any money in an irregular way. There has never been any irregular bidding process. We have always acted with the utmost excellence and seeking legality.”

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