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Luis Rubiales, the heir to Ángel Villar


There it is then, Villar is once again president of the Spanish Football Federation. He dealt far more easily with Jorge Pérez and Javier Tebas' opening gambit than Gerardo González Otero's strategy, where he really had to work, with the crucial support of Laporta, who knew exactly how to get his recompense. There is, of course, still an appeal, which the Spanish Disciplinary Committee for Sports is ducking out of and will end up lost in some legal thicket. Villar's ability to cling on to power is worthy of a case study at a famous business school, for future generations to learn from. Tebas, a decent mover and shaker, who's achieved so much at LaLiga has hit a roadblock here. But then, Villar was supported by the Government.

The plan for Villar's replacement

The idea from high up was that Villar deserved an honourable exit, and with this goal a secret plot was cooked up that it's supposed will be fulfilled. We'll see soon see from what happens next. The plan would consist of Juan Padrón, the veteran vice-president who's created so many enemies, standing aside in order to open up a tranquil succession with the naming of a new vice-president, Luis Rubiales, the resignation of Villar and Rubiales taking over. Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Footballers Association, has already started his metamorphosis: from radical trades unionist, who tried to launch strikes for the most trifling of reasons, to a moderate. Once more the old chestnut about starting out as a firestarter and ending up as a fireman turns out to have a grain of truth in it.

Villar's standing in high places

And why the honourable exit for Villar? Because of the Spanish national side's successes, because of his standing as vice-president of Fifa and Uefa, and finally and mainly, because they can't stand Tebas, who rocked Jorge Pérez's boat. The government would have preferred for Telefónica to have the football, rather than Mediapro, and Tebas was on the side of the latter. To the great benefit of the clubs, it has to be said. But it went down so badly that it finished off Miguel Cardenal, for having supported Tebas in his television strategy. At the end of the day Villar is still where he was. Now it remains to be seen whether he sticks to his side of the bargain, banishing Padrón and telling Rubiales to go and warm up.