KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —-Angel Maria Villar has effectively quit football after his arrest and detention on corruption charges last week.

UEFA said today that Villar had officially informed European football’s governing body  that he had “tendered his resignation as vice-president of UEFA and member of the UEFA executive committee with immediate effect . . . Mr Villar Llona will no longer have any official functions at our organisation.”

This means also that Villar, 67, was automatically no longer a vice-president of world federation FIFA since he owed that position and his place on the world governing body’s council to his UEFA status. In fact he has formally confirmed that exit 19 years after first joining the former executive committee.

Under arrest . . . Angel Maria Villar on the way out

Juan Luis Larrea, until now the treasurer of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, has already been appointed interim Spanish federation president. Larrea was promoted by an emergency meeting of RFEF directors in the City of Football at Las Rozas on the outskirts of Madrid.

It is not known yet whether Larrea, a close associate of Villar, will make one of his first duties in office a journey to Deventer in the Netherlands where Spain play Scotland today in a decisive Group D tie at the UEFA Women’s Euro.

Villar was suspended from holding office on Tuesday by the directors of the national sports council (CSD), the governmental body responsible for overseeing the development and promotion of sport in Spain.

Flight risk

The former president was detained last week on a raft of corruption charges along with his lawyer son Gorka, a former executive of the South American confederation CONMEBOL, and two other Spanish football officials.

Villar was denied bail by a national court judge who considered him a possible flight risk. All four deny wrongdoing, according to their lawyers.

FIFA will be relieved by the voluntary withdrawal of Villar from the game since the peremptory action of the CSD had apparently placed Spain at risk of FIFA disciplinary action barring government interference in football governance.

Article 14 of FIFA statutes says that federations should:

manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties in accordance with art. 19 of these Statutes; 

2. Violation of the above-mentioned obligations by any member association may lead to sanctions provided for in these Statutes.

3. Violations of par. 1 (i) may also lead to sanctions, even if the third-party influence was not the fault of the member association concerned.

FIFA has contented itself thus far with only a ‘watching brief.’

A statement from the FIFA ethics committee after Villar’s arrest said:

There is full awareness as to the reports regarding Mr Villar Llona and the chamber is monitoring the evolution of the matter.

In this sense, the Investigatory Chamber will not comment on ongoing proceedings nor comment on whether or not investigations are underway into alleged ethics cases.

Finally, any information the committee would like to share will be communicated accordingly upon the committee’s indications.

In the past the ethics committee has moved at varying speeds.

The ‘Zurich seven’ arrested on the eve of FIFA Congress in 2015 were suspended from the game provisionally within hours. However Marco Polo del Nero remains president of the Brazilian confederation even though he was indicted by the United States Department of Justice 18 months ago.

UEFA statement:

On 26 July, 2017, Mr Ángel María Villar Llona tendered his resignation as Vice President of UEFA and member of the UEFA Executive Committee with immediate effect.

Following his resignation, Mr Villar Llona will no longer have any official functions at our organisation.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has accepted Mr Villar Llona’s letter of resignation and has thanked him for his many years of service to European football.

In view of the on-going court proceedings in Spain, we have no further comments to make on this matter.