RFEF

Spanish FA once again opposes La Liga match in U.S.

Leave a comment

For the second consecutive season, La Liga and Relevant Sports have proposed a league match to take place this winter in the U.S.

And once again, the La Liga proposal doesn’t have the support of its national soccer federation.

[READ: La Liga wants to move Villarreal-Atletico Madrid to Miami]

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), told reporters on Thursday that it would oppose the match taking place outside of Spain’s borders, keeping a consistent line in the sand on how far globalization can go in soccer.

“It would disrupt the competition,” Rubiales said, via AS. “To play a game in Miami, La Liga needs permission from five bodies that it doesn’t have.”

The five bodies Rubiales referred to are the RFEF, FIFA, CONCACAF, U.S. Soccer and MLS.

Last time around, Relevant Sports and La Liga announced a long-term, lucrative marketing contract to expand the brand’s footprint in the Americas, and soon after, petitioned to move Girona’s home game against Barcelona to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the home stadium of Relevant Sports owner Stephen Ross and his Miami Dolphins.

Ultimately, La Liga president Javier Tebas and Relevant Sports were unable to get permission from the RFEF or FIFA to hold the event outside Spain and it went off as expected in Girona. At the time, Spain’s player’s union and fans groups opposed the move. Tebas has filed a lawsuit in Spain to try to force the RFEF to approve their request, but it seems unlikely to be awarded and it surely doesn’t provide any good will between the two parties.

There’s been plenty of talk about bringing league games abroad before, but it has just been talk so far. The Premier League considered adding an extra game to the season to be played all over the world, but never went through with creating plans for matches.

Associations – not leagues, to be clear – have brought things like Super Cups abroad. For example, the RFEF moved the 2018 Spanish Super Cup to Tangiers, Morocco, while the France Football Federation has brought its national Super Cup match to both the U.S. and Montreal, Canada in recent years. However, the argument in favor of bringing those games abroad is they’re basically meaningless. Meanwhile, one result in a league season could – in theory – determine whether a team is relegated or not, especially if the margin is three points or less.

We could see another legal fight on our hands, so watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.

Spanish league president says player revealed match-fixing

Getty Images
1 Comment

MADRID (AP) Spanish league president Javier Tebas testified in a match-fixing trial on Thursday, saying it was a former player who told him a result had been fixed.

The case involves a top-tier game between Levante and Zaragoza at the end of the 2010-11 season. Prosecutors say there is evidence 965,000 euros (nearly $1 million) was paid to Levante’s players to lose the match in the final round of the season. Zaragoza won 2-1 to secure its spot in the first division, with Deportivo La Coruna being demoted.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule ]

Tebas did not reveal which player made the allegation but said he played for Zaragoza and didn’t want to be linked to the investigation out of fear of retaliation from other players. Tebas also said the unidentified player was a client of his law firm at the time.

Tebas, who became the league’s president in 2013, said he warned then-Levante president Quico Catalan, who later also testified and said he did not recall receiving a call from Tebas about the alleged match-fixing attempt.

Last week, lawyers for Zaragoza and some players unsuccessfully called for a mistrial claiming Tebas broke lawyer-client privilege when the league brought the allegation to authorities.

More than 40 people have been accused and have appeared before a judge in Valencia, including dozens of players and former Mexico coach Javier Aguirre, who managed Zaragoza at the time.

They could face two years in prison and a six-year ban from soccer if found guilty. They have all denied any wrongdoing.

Among the 36 players accused are Ander Herrera, now with Paris Saint-Germain; former Leicester midfielder Vicente Iborra; former Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez; River Plate midfielder Leonardo Ponzio; Serbian defender Ivan Obradovic; Lazio forward Felipe Caicedo; Itailan defender Maurizio Lanzaro; and Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani.

Prosecutors said players on both teams were aware of the match-fixing. They said they found evidence the money was transferred to Levante players after analyzing tax reports and banking transactions at the time.

A lower court had shelved the case but it was reopened last year after an appeal by prosecutors in Valencia, where Levante is based and where the match was played.

Even if found guilty, it’s unlikely that those being accused would face actual prison time because sentences of two years or less for first-time offenders are often suspended in Spain.

Zaragoza returned to the second division in 2014. Levante is currently in Spain’s top league.

Spain approves changes to Copa del Rey and Super Cup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) The Spanish soccer federation approved format changes to the Copa del Rey and the Super Cup on Monday despite opposition from the Spanish league.

The Copa del Rey will be played in single-match series until the semifinals, while the Spanish Super Cup will adopt a “final four” format with the top finishers in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule ]

The changes are expected to take effect at the beginning of next season, although the Spanish league could still appeal the federation’s decision, which was approved during its general assembly.

The Spanish league voted last week in its own general assembly not to support the changes, saying it should have been directly involved in the discussions.

The federation said the changes will help reduce the number of games for clubs and players.

Federation president Luis Rubiales said last week the entity was considering playing the new Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, prompting some criticism by human rights groups who have denounced conditions in the Middle East nation.

The competition has been played at the beginning of the season in a one-game final between the Copa del Rey and the league champions. The final four will now be played in January.

Last year’s final, won by Barcelona against Sevilla, was played in Tangier, Morocco.

The Spanish federation also approved changes aimed at giving more visibility and improving women’s soccer. The women’s league will have two divisions and a Super Cup will be created.

The federation said it will take actions to increase the number of professional women’s players and the number of girls involved in the sport.

RFEF says La Liga will adopt video reviews starting in 2018/19

Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Video replay has already been used in the Bundesliga and Serie A, as well as Major League Soccer, and another major league is about to adopt the use of the technology too.

[ MORE: Has the 2018 World Cup match ball been leaked? ]

The Royal Spanish Football Federation announced on Thursday that La Liga will begin the use of video replay and utilize a VAR (video assistant referee) beginning in 2018/19.

Juan Luis Larrea — president of RFEF — believes the addition is necessary, given the changes that have occurred with technology over recent years.

“For next season. That is our intention,” Larrea told Cadena SER, adding that over 70 tests would first take place. “Technology is now coming into football and you have to accept it.”

Spain is one of the few countries among Europe’s elite that don’t currently use goal-line technology, which the Premier League also employs.

Real Madrid launches second appeal for Copa del Rey expulsion

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Real Madrid has initialized a second appeal, this time to the Administrative Court of Sport, following their expulsion from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player.

The club played Denis Cheryshev last week against Cadiz, who had received three yellow cards in the competition last year for Villareal, resulting in a one-match suspension. Cheryshev scored the opener in a 3-1 win for Madrid, but was substituted off at halftime when the club realized the mistake.

Madrid was booted from the competition after Cadiz lodged an official complaint, and their initial appeal to the RFEF’s appeals committee was denied.

“Real Madrid CF has received and analyzed the resolution of the Appeals Committee, which once again verifies that the player Denis Cheryshev was not notified of his ban, the only way the aforementioned ban can take effect,” the club said in a statement.