MADRID: The long-delayed and controversial next election for the presidency of the Spanish federation will be staged on May 22 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Angel Maria Villar, a senior vice-president of both world and European governing bodies FIFA and UEFA, has indicated he intends to stand for a further term to extend his 29-year reign.

He is likely to be opposed by Jorge Perez, former RFEF general secretary.

Villar, under pressure from the national sports council to name a date, agreed on May 22 at a meeting of the RFEF exeutive board. The campaign opens on Friday so, formally, the federation will be run in the meantime by Juan Padron.

In the meantime Villar has ordered an inquiry into what happened to a €1.2m government grant which was used for development projects in the Caribbean in support of the doomed bid (with Portugal) to winhost rights to the 2018 World Cup.

The cash was designated for four programs: €462,000 for a sports education project in in Libya and neighbouring countries; €254,000 for an administration training programme in Latin America; €287,000 for international technical development and €219,000 for a football school in Haiti.

The monies were refunded to the sports council after the federation failed to satisfy the CSD about its use.

World Cup controversy

Few of the nine bids from 11 countries involved in the process which ended in hosting awards to Russia and Qatar escaped criticism, censure or major disciplinary action.

Villar, a former Spain and Bilbao midfielder who has led the RFEF since 1988, was fined CHF25,000 and cautioned by the FIFA ethics committee for a lack of co-operation with the bid investigation undertaken by United States lawyer Michael Garcia.

Nevertheless Villar not only clung on to his vice-presidential status but was interim president of UEFA between the autumn of 2015 and September 2016 after Michel Platini’s suspension.

Simultaneously the 66-year-old lawyer had come under increasing pressure in Spain over delayed elections and allegations concerning the misuse of power over a lower divisions administrative controversy.

Villar – one of the few powerbroker survivors from Sepp Blatter’s corruption-scarred FIFA regime – saw his status further downgraded last week when he was sacked as president of the world federation’s referees’ committee.

** The final of the Spanish cup will be staged in Atletico de Madrid’s Estadio Calderon.