Friday, July 1, 2022

Rubiales hits out at ´gangsters´ who hacked his phone as RFEF chief defends Supercopa move

SoccerNews in La Liga 20 Apr 2022

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Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has refuted claims of wrongdoing amid controversy surrounding the Supercopa de Espana.

Messages and phone calls between Rubiales and Barcelona stalwart Gerard Pique have been leaked to the media.

The audio recordings revealed Pique helped negotiate a €24million commission when the Supercopa was expanded to four teams and moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020.

It was a deal reportedly worth €40m to the RFEF for every tournament played in the middle-eastern state.

Spanish publication El Confidencial, which released the audio on Monday, claimed Pique’s Kosmos group, a sports entertainment company founded in 2017, would benefit to the tune of €4m per tournament over the six-year agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Pique insisted he had done no wrong, telling a Twitch stream: “I have nothing to hide, everything we have done is legal.”

On Wednesday, Rubiales gave a news conference to address the issue and hit out at the people who hacked the RFEF communications, calling them “gangsters” and suggesting more than one person or group was involved in the hacking as he denied charging any commission.

“I qualify as a gangster whoever has used that information for a spurious interest. I know who benefits,” Rubiales said.

“I do not charge commissions. How would you be if the information about your life was stolen, private conversations? I qualify this as a mafia. I don’t think this can be achieved by one person.”

Explaining how the switch to Saudi Arabia came about, Rubiales said: “Kosmos proposed a change of format for the Supercopa. They started to work on it.

“We spoke to Saudi Arabia, the US, China, countries in Africa and other countries. It was clear that their financial relationship would not be with the RFEF, but with Saudi Arabia.”

Rubiales also insisted there was no conflict of interest “because there is no economic relationship with Kosmos”.

He suggested the hackers could go as far as to plant evidence of wrongdoing against him and added: “There are several complaints. We have suffered several attacks. Here are some criminals who are trying to damage my image [and the] RFEF.

“We are going to collaborate with the police, and it is under investigation.”

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