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FIFA hold talks with Spain government amid World Cup ban fears

FIFA, world football’s governing body, warned the Spanish federation (RFEF) in December that it could be suspended from the World Cup 2018 because of government interference.

football Updated: Feb 06, 2018 15:19 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Madrid
FIFA,Spain national football team,FIFA World Cup 2018
Former President of the Spanish Football Federation, (RFEF) Angel Maria Villar attends a press conference on December 18, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. Angel Maria Villar being forced to step down on corruption charges in July 2017 was what caused worries that Spain could potentially miss out on the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.(Getty Images)

FIFA and the Spanish government agreed on Monday the “need to clarify as quickly as possible” the situation regarding the country’s football federation (RFEF) to avoid a potential World Cup ban.

World football’s governing body warned the Spanish federation in December that it could be suspended from the FIFA World Cup 2018 because of government interference.

The issue arose after long-time RFEF president Angel Maria Villar was forced to resign last year from the post he had occupied since 1988 following his arrest as part of a corruption investigation.

He was detained in July on allegations of collusion, embezzlement and falsifying documents and spent two weeks in custody before being released on bail.

However, the Spanish Sports Council’s (CSD) insistence that new elections be called for the presidency of the football federation attracted FIFA’s interest for political interference.

On Monday, FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura met with Spanish sports minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo in Madrid, along with CSD president Jose Ramon Lete and interim RFEF chief Juan Luis Larrea.

“The two delegations agreed on the need to clarify as quickly as possible and by legal means the exceptional situation of the RFEF,” read a statement from the ministry of education, culture and sports, adding that talks were held in “a climate of full collaboration”.

Larrea, another long-time football administrator, said he was “convinced there is no danger” surrounding the Spain national football team’s participation at this year’s World Cup.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 10:00 IST