Spanish football chief fined over conduct during FIFA investigation

Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:54am EST
 
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By Brian Homewood

BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA's ethics committee said on Friday it had fined and warned Spanish football chief and veteran FIFA official Angel Maria Villar over his conduct during its investigation into the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The panel at world soccer's governing body did not go into details on the conduct, but the case underlined the high tensions around investigations into allegations of irregularities over the awarding of the two tournaments to Russia and Qatar in December 2010.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said Villar had been penalized for a late reply to correspondence and for using the phrase "My God, you've got balls" during an interview with Michael Garcia, FIFA's chief investigator into the World Cup bids.

Villar himself, who was on a committee pushing Spain and Portugal's joint bid to host the 2018 tournament, said a phrase he had used at the time had been misunderstood and insisted his conduct had never been "unruly".

The Swiss attorney general's office opened an investigation in June into possible corruption in the World Cup bidding contest.

Garcia completed FIFA's own investigation into the process last year, but only a 43-page summary of the findings have been released, and one senior official said there was not enough evidence to call for a re-vote. Russia and Qatar have denied wrongdoing.

Buffeted by a series of scandals over the last few years, FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May by the U.S. indictments of 14 football officials and its president Sepp Blatter is suspended for 90 days pending an ethics investigation.

  Continued...

 
President of the Spanish-Portuguese bid committee Angel Maria Villar Llona (C) of Spain and the committee's Vice-President Gilberto Madail (R) of Portugal submit their official bid book for the 2022 Soccer World Cup to FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) during an official handover ceremony at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich May 14, 2010.      REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann