ZURICH/MADRID: FIFA is standing four-square behind its vice-president Angel Maria Villar in the Spanish television rights row writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Villar is long-serving head of the Spanish federation which has ordered a shutdown of all domestic football from Saturday in a dispute with the league.

The federation claims that a new law setting out of the terms of a central marketing deal represents government interference in contravention of the national and international statutes.

League president Javier Tebas has insisted that the law is ‘merely’ a commercial contract issue and has no bearing on the governance of the Spanish game.

The players’ union has supported the federation and threatened strike action in protest at the league’s new TV deal. A court will rule on Thursday whether the strike is lawful.

In the meantime FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke has written to the government warning of the possibility of sanctions against Spanish football over alleged “interference” in its affairs.

Three officials from the world federation and one from European governing body have held talks with Villar at the RFEF’s headquarters in Las Rozas.

Valcke’s latter stated: ” Articles 13 and 17 of FIFA statutes stipulate that the member associations should manage their affairs independently and ensure that no interference is permitted by others organisations in its internal affairs.”

FIFA had first expressed concern over growing tensions in Spanish football over the TV rights issue back in February.

# # # #