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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Disgraced Ex-Spanish Soccer Chief Raided by Cops in Corruption Probe

  • Spanish police also raided the soccer federation’s offices and arrested at least six people.
  • Police are investigating wrongdoing related to the Super Cup’s move to Saudi Arabia.
Isabel Infantes/Sipa USA via USA TODAY Sports

Police in Spain raided the home of disgraced former soccer federation president Luis Rubiales on Wednesday, investigating potential corruption and money laundering related to the federation’s 2020 deal with Saudi Arabia. The federation’s offices were also raided, and at least six people were arrested, according to the Associated Press.

Rubiales moved the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia in 2020 in a deal that brought in roughly $42 million per tournament for the federation. Prosecutors began investigating two years later after leaked audio recordings between Rubiales and player Gerard Piqué revealed the latter’s involvement in negotiating the tournament’s move. Piqué’s company is set to receive about $26 million over the first six years of the tournament, according to the recordings. “I don’t have anything to hide. Everything we did was legal,” Piqué said after the recordings were published in Spanish media.

Rubiales wasn’t arrested or home when police raided his Granada residence, per the AP. But he is among the five additional people officially being investigated, and his home was one of 11 places raided in a search for documents, the AP reported.

Rubiales was president of the federation from 2018 to September ’23, when he resigned following backlash from kissing player Jenni Hermoso without her consent on the World Cup stage. FIFA banned him in October from all national and international soccer for three years. A Spanish judge recommended in January that Rubiales stand trial for the incident. The judge also wanted the team’s former head coach and federation’s marketing chief to stand trial for trying to pressure Hermoso to publicly say the kiss was consensual.

This isn’t the first time the Spanish police have raided the federation’s office in the past year. They did so in September as part of an investigation into FC Barcelona’s payments to a former VP of the country’s referee committee.

It’s an ugly series of events for a federation that won its first Women’s World Cup in 2023. The women’s team boycotted play after the World Cup until the federation agreed to make “immediate and profound” structural changes, which included a new committee made up of representatives from the team, federation, and government.

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