MADRID: More pressure has been raised in Spain for long-serving football federation president Angel Maria Villar to speak up about the FIFA crisis writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The former Spain and Bilbao midfielder has led the RFEF for more than 25 years while simultaneously establishing an international power base as a senior vice-president of both the world federation and European confederation UEFA.
However Villar, known as a conservative refusenik over FIFA reform, has maintained silence despite the deepening confusion within the governing body amid a stream of corruption cases plus the allegations which have prompted the current suspensions of presidents Sepp Blatter (FIFA) and Michel Platini (UEFA).
Today in Nyon he will attend, in his role as senior vice-president of UEFA, an emergency meeting of the executive committee summoned to consider latest events.
Speculation has also been raised about whether Villar is being investigated by the FIFA ethics committee over the 2018-2022 World Cup bid process when he led the Portugal-Spain co-hosting campaign. The bid lost out to Russia despite a vote-trade deal with ultimate 2022 winner Qatar.
Pressure on Villar to give up power in Spain has come ever more noisily from Javier Tebas, the president of the Spanish league who forced the 65-year-old federation leader into a humiliating climbdown over the issue of centralised sale of league TV rights.
Tebas has returned to the attack and has been supported by Miguel Calderon, president of the national sports council.
Calderon, asked whether Villar should have been aware of FIFA corruption, said: “This is something he needs to explain himself, nobody can give an opinion in his name. I think it would be a good thing if he did so.
“In the past he has made statements supporting his fellow members of the [FIFA] executive committee, assuring that there was no doubt about their honour. Events have shown that his assessment was wrong and obviously he is the one who should explain this.”
Tebas said last week at the Leaders Sports Business Summit in London that it was time Villar stepped aside.
He returned to the attack by echoing Calderon’s comments.
Tebas said: “”Either Villar was very clever or very stupid if he did not notice anything. It worries me that the RFEF president did not notice anything that was going on.”