• Spanish court orders federation head Villar held in custody

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    MADRID: A Madrid court on Thursday (Friday in Manila) ordered Spanish football federation president Angel Maria Villar and his son Gorka to be held in custody without bail following his arrest on corruption charges.

    High Court judge Santiago Pedraz ordered the two men detained because he said there was a significant flight risk given their “huge financial means” and they could destroy evidence.

    Pedraz questioned Villar, a senior president of world football governing body FIFA, and his son throughout the day.

    Spanish Civil Guard plainclothes policemen escort Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) vice president Juan Padron (R) outside the Football Federation building in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, on July 18. AFP PHOTO

    Also examined were federation vice-president Juan Padron and Ramon Hernandez Baussou, general secretary of the Tenerife federation.

    Police arrested the four men on Tuesday following raids on federation headquarters and other sites as part of a fraud probe launched last year.

    They face charges including falsifying documents, misappropriation of funds, collusion and administrative breaches linked to skimming profits from international friendly games and channelling the funds to Gorka Villar.

    Bassou will be able to avoid jail with a 100,000-euro bail payment.

    Investigators were also probing whether national federation funds had been used to bribe regional officials to vote for Villar at federation elections for president, according to Spanish media reports.

    Villar, 67, a UEFA vice president, has headed the Spanish federation since 1988.

    Under his watch Spain became one of the dominant forces in world football, winning two European championships and the 2010 World Cup.

    But his critics say his period in charge was marked by ethical issues and an autocratic management style.

    Following his re-election in May, El Pais newspaper denounced his “despotic” management and bemoaned his close ties to FIFA and UEFA leaders embroiled in corruption probes.

    His son’s Sport Advisers company is accused of profiting by 120,000 euros for a friendly played against Argentina.

    Prosecutors also claim that astronomical salaries were being paid to employees of the company totalling 5.5 millon euros — an average of 137,000 euros per person.

    Spain’s La Liga draw postponed after arrests
    The Spanish football federation has pushed back a draw for the upcoming football league calendar until Friday following the arrest of its president.

    The draw to decide fixture for the first and second divisions, originally scheduled for Thursday, will now take place Friday at 12:30pm (10:30 GMT) at the federation’s headquarters, it said in a Twitter message.

    “The draw, which is a purely administrative act, will take place,” he told news radio Cadena Ser.

    The 2017/18 first division season will begin the weekend of August 19-20 and end on May 20, 2018.

    AFP

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