Spanish police said that they have arrested Angel Maria Villar Llona, the president of Spain’s football association, Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol (RFEF).
Villar Llona, who holds a senior vice-president role at both FIFA and UEFA, was arrested on Tuesday morning along with his son and three other federation executives as part of an anti-corruption probe into the finances of the federation, led by investigating magistrates and anti-corruption prosecutors of the Spanish High Court.
The other three men who were arrested along with Villar Llona were Juan Padron, the federation vice president of economic affairs, and both the president and the secretary of the regional federation for Tenerife.
The allegations against them centre are related to the falsification of documents and skimming profits from international football matches.
Spain’s Guardia Civil said in a statement on Tuesday that Villar Llona, his son Gorka, and three other football officials were detained while raids were carried out at the federation headquarters in Madrid.
The Spanish minister of education, culture and sport, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, said moments after the raids that “in Spain the laws are enforced, the laws are the same for all, and nobody is above the law”.
Meanwhile, UEFA said in a statement it “is aware of the reports regarding Mr Villar Llona. We have no comment to make at this time.”
Villar Llona was president when Spain won two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup. He also served on the council of football’s world governing body FIFA for the past 29 years, but was reprimanded by the organization for failing to comply with its internal inquiry into the 2018/22 World Cup bidding process.
Michael Garcia, who conducted the investigation, wrote that Mr Villar told him: “Well, you really have balls” when the American lawyer refused to reveal who had made allegations against Mr Villar. He also demanded Mr Garcia drop the case “for your own good”.