Spanish FA chief blames ‘mafia’ in Gerard Pique conflict of interest in Saudi Arabia

Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales has vehemently denied there is a conflict of interest with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique’s company over the FA deal which was signed with Saudi Saudi Arabia to host the Spanish Super Cup from 2019 to 2029.

Information and audio recordings stolen from senior Spanish FA officials, including Rubiales, by hackers have revealed that Pique’s company Kosmos acted as an intermediary in the deal between the Spanish FA and Sela, a Saudi state-owned sports marketing company, and received 24 million euros. commission.

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“Kosmos’ commission is paid by Saudi Arabia and not by the federation,” Rubiales said at Wednesday’s press conference. “We have no financial relationship with Pique or Kosmos. Our compliance department has told us that there is no conflict of interest as the relationship is between Saudi Arabia and Kosmos.

“Each of us has our own ethical standard but at the Spanish FA we have three filters that need to be passed and this agreement did that.”

Rubiales said Pique is a role model for other footballers.

“I hope there will be more footballers like Pique, who are businessmen and have other activities,” he added.

“What we want is for footballers to have studies, for them to have other careers.”

The RFEF reported the theft of information to the police and Rubiales said he believed the “mafia” was behind the act in an effort to discredit him.

“I trust the police and hope they can catch the mafia who did this,” he said. “I am angry that they [media] prioritize the fake news I hear over stealing private information from my phone. I have been at the head of the RFEF for four years. I haven’t stopped being attacked since I decided to run for president. There is a campaign to discredit me. If they can do it, I can’t guarantee that they’ll ever put a bag of cocaine in the trunk of my car.

“I don’t deserve this, nor does my family.”

Rubiales said the deal signed with Saudi Arabia was done in a “transparent, honorable and legal” way and was “beneficial” for Spanish football.

“It’s a great and exemplary agreement, which some want to smear,” he said. “We did a good job, we acted honourably.

“The Italian FA have won their Super Cup [final] abroad and got 7 million euros and we got 40 million euros per tournament (400 million euros in total). I don’t know where that €7m went to Italy, but I can assure you that of the €40m, half of that amount will go to our modest clubs, which have to survive.”

The rest of the money will go to the participating clubs.

The Spanish FA have been criticized for hosting the competition in a country criticized for its treatment of women.

“Thanks to the Spanish FA, Saudi women were able to enter a stadium and not have to sit alone,” Rubiales said. “Our Ambassador [in Saudi Arabia] even thanked us for signing this agreement.”

Among the stolen audios that leaked to the media was a conversation between Pique and Rubiales in which the veteran defender expressed his desire to play in the Tokyo Olympics.

A 2010 World Cup winner and 2012 European champion, Pique retired from the Spanish national team in the summer of 2018.

“He [Pique] wasn’t the only player to call me,” Rubiales said. “There were others. I talked to [Spain Under-21 coach Luis] De la Fuente on him and on many others. But I told him to make the decision he had to make. Luis then made his own decision.

“It’s better that no player calls me because as you can see it didn’t work out.”

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