MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales hit back on Wednesday at “mischievous and dishonest” accusations from Spanish media of wrongdoing over the deal to relocate the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, website El Confidencial published leaked audio recordings from 2019 that revealed details about the contract negotiated by Rubiales and Barcelona defender Gerard Pique. [
The report said that Pique’s company Kosmos received 24 million euros ($4.34 million) in commission for six Super Cup editions scheduled to be played in the Middle Eastern country. Pique, 35, has denied any wrongdoing.
“I am outraged by all the falsehoods that were published and extremely angry for having information illegally stolen from my mobile,” Rubiales told a news conference.
Rubiales spent almost two hours answering questions about Pique’s involvement in the negotiation and the contract signed to relocate the tournament. Around a dozen regional football chiefs were also in attendance to show support for Rubiales.
“The contract that was published is an earlier version that never came to fruition. It was a first draft and we explained it to the journalist over a two hour meeting in the RFEF headquarters, but he decided to publish it anyway,” the 44-year-old said.
“Kosmos approached the RFEF to propose a new format for the Super Cup and we liked the idea and told him to move forward.”
Rubiales said that the RFEF never had a commercial agreement with Pique and that the commission was fully paid by Saudi Arabia.
He added that there was no deal with Qatar as alleged because the draft published by El Confidencial was never approved by Doha’s authorities and Saudi’s deal “was the best on the table by a big margin”.
The decision to relocate the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia has been criticised by many due to the Middle East country’s human rights record.
Amnesty International called on the clubs involved in the tournament to take a stand over women’s rights and equality issues but had no response.
“Our ethics committee encouraged us to go and sign with Saudi Arabia because we guaranteed that the women’s league would be created, that women could freely go to the stadiums and not be isolated,” Rubiales added.
There are hundreds of business projects with Spanish companies in Saudi Arabia. Why only the football can’t?”
Rubiales explained that the final deal with Saudi Arabia would pay RFEF 400 million euros and “half of the amount goes to lowly teams and divisions, helping develop the modest football in Spain”.
($1 = 0.9210 euros)
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Christian Radnedge)