The suspended president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has warned that government interference could cost the national team their spot at next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Angel Maria Villar was removed from his post in July and is currently on bail awaiting trial on charges of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.
FIFA confirmed recently that it had sent a letter to RFEF expressing concern about the independence of the federation and reminding it of its duty to “manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties”.
Villar believes that failure to do so could result in Spain being banned from the World Cup, allowing another country to take its place for football’s showpiece event next summer.
“The only ones responsible for the possibility that the national team could miss out on the World Cup is the current government,” he told a press conference on Monday.
“No one wants this, least of all me, but there are other national teams like Italy that missed out on the World Cup that will jump at the chance to take a World Cup spot.”
LaLiga president Javier Tebas dismissed Villar’s comments, saying: “Villar is old FIFA and his way of behaving for 70 years has been fear and threats. This is one more that is not going to happen. FIFA is not going to do it [kick Spain out] because the new FIFA is not on this road.
“You have to support the government. The decisions they took were based on the law.
“Spain is simply maintaining the rule of law. Villar has accused the government many times. Villar lives in a bubble.”
Spain’s Secretary of State for sport, Jose Ramon Lete, added: “The first thing that has to be said is that Spain won their place at the World Cup brilliantly, on their own merits, and that is not at stake.
“I’m convinced that [Spain’s World Cup place] is not in danger.”
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