MADRID: After almost three decades under Angel Maria Villar, the Spanish football federation has finally entered a new era with a new president writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Luis Rubiales, a former youth player with Levante and head of the Spanish players’ union, defeated Juan Luis Larrea by 80 votes to 56.

His election brought the prospect of a new start for the domestic games after a year of paralysis following the arrest of Villar – then a vice-president of both FIFA and UEFA – on charges of a misuse of funds.

Rubiales owed victory to support from professional players, the futsal sector and several powerful clubs including Barcelona. The mood for change he described as “unstoppable.”

Larrea, formerly Villar loyalist, RFEF treasurer and interim president, complained that he had been let down by delegates who promised to vote for him then changed sides. His defeat was also considered a indirect defeat for combative LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

For the moment Larrea is likely to continue as a member of the executive committee of European federation UEFA until new elections next spring.

First challenges

One of Rubiales’s early tasks will be to launch  review of the running of the RFEF with the target of introducing term limits to prevent anyone ever securing the sort of ‘tenure for life’ which Villar had appeared to expect.

Rubiales is not expected to introduce any changes to the national team system headed by coach Julen Lopetegui and manager Fernando Hierro.

He is also expected to create a separate section for women’s football and promised greater transparency, saying: “It would be impossible to have any less.”