Another FIFA pin falls

July 19, 2017
In this file photo from July 18, former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Angel Maria Villar (right) is led by Spanish Civil Guard policeman to enter the Federation headquarters during an anti-corruption operation in Las Rozas, outside Madrid.


The executive who oversaw Spain's rise to dominate world football in recent years was arrested yesterday in an anti-corruption investigation, dealing yet another blow to the sport's already-tarnished image.

Angel Maria Villar, his son, Gorka Villar, and two other officials were detained while raids were conducted at the federation headquarters and other properties, the state prosecutor and Spanish police said.

The elder Villar, who has led the Spanish Football Federation for three decades and is the senior vice president of FIFA and a vice president for the European football organisation, is suspected of having arranged matches for Spain that led to business deals benefiting his son, said the office of the state prosecutor in charge of anti-corruption.


Questionable conduct


Angel Maria Villar is a longtime power broker in football both inside and beyond Spain's borders, and he was singled out for questionable conduct in the 2014 FIFA report on the World Cup bidding process that rocked the sport.

A 2015 US investigation into corruption in world soccer led to the eventual resignation of longtime president Sepp Blatter and other top officials.

Also arrested were Juan Padron, the federation's vice president of economic affairs who is also president of the regional federation for Tenerife, and Ramon Hernandez, the secretary of that regional federation.

The four were arrested on charges of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents as part of an inquiry into the finances of the federations.

Police began the investigation in early 2016 after a complaint from Spain's Higher Council of Sport, the government's sports authority.

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