La Liga president Javier Tebas has reassured fans that Spain are in not in danger of missing out on the World Cup despite suspended Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria Villar claiming otherwise.
Villar gave a news conference on Monday warning that Spanish government interference at the RFEF could lead to FIFA taking away the country’s spot at next year’s tournament in Russia.
FIFA sent a letter to the RFEF raising concerns regarding the state of the country’s federation and reminding its member nation of its duty to manage its affairs without outside influence.
However, Tebas told Marca Radio: “It’s a supine stupidity that Spain will not be at the World Cup and I hope the population doesn’t believe it. Spain will be, and will win, the World Cup.”
At the helm of the RFEF since 1988, Villar was re-elected as president for an eighth term in May.
However, the 67-year-old was suspended from his duties two months later by Spain’s top sports authority, Consejo Superio de Deportes (CSD), and is currently on bail awaiting trial on charges of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.
Villar said the move by the CSD to suspend him was “arbitrary” and an “injustice” without giving him the “possibility of presumption of innocence.”
The government-run CSD, led by its president Jose Ramon Lete, requested in May that Villar’s re-election be annulled and, if not, for Villar to face a vote of no confidence from the RFEF.
Villar said the CSD’s pressure on the RFEF to elect his successor is something that goes against the federation’s regulations and is proof of government interference, though Tebas disagrees.
He said: “I think the CSD are taking the decisions that correspond. I believe that Villar is history and what we are seeing is the last death throes of villarismo.
“What I wish for Villar is that he defends himself in the best possible way but that he doesn’t damage football. He cannot use the national team as a manoeuvre for coercion.”
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.