Athletic Bilbao game causes another delay in Spanish FA presidential election
The election to decide the new president of the Spanish FA (RFEF) has been delayed indefinitely again as designated voter Oscar De Marcos has a game for Athletic Bilbao at Villarreal on the previously agreed date of April 9.
The RFEF has been without a permanent chief since long-standing president Angel Maria Villar was forced out three months ago following his arrest in July on suspicion of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption, and falsifying documents.
Juan Luis Larrea, Villar’s former associate and long-time RFEF treasurer, has been the acting head of the organisation since last summer. Larrea is one of two candidates to take the position, along with Luis Rubiales, the head of the Spanish players union (AFE).
An RFEF statement released Wednesday evening said that the Spanish government’s sports administration court had accepted an appeal by Rubiales to delay the vote because De Marcos, the players delegate, will be unavailable, and said a meeting would soon take place to find a suitable date.
Rubiales, the former Levante defender, then released a statement on Twitter calling the decision unjust and saying he had actually asked for La Liga’s authorities to move the game instead.
Amid continuing confusion, Larrea told “El Larguero” radio show that he is not pleased with the situation.
“I don’t like how this looks,” Larrea said. “There will always be something, if not La Liga [games], then an indoor football game, or women’s football. … We cannot wait until the middle of May.”
The RFEF presidency is decided by 139 delegates appointed from different areas of the Spanish game, including players, referees and representatives from amateur football and regional federations.
Some of the appointed voters have also been implicated in the police’s “Operacion Soule” investigation into long-running corruption within Spanish football.
Although Villar has had to resign his former positions at UEFA and FIFA, he has denied all wrongdoing and made attempts to delay the voting in order to regain the RFEF presidency.
He even attempted to stoke fears in December that Spain could be thrown out of the World Cup in Russia this summer should he not be reinstated.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan