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Spain, FIFA, and the Villar case

A summit between a Spanish delegation and FIFA was held on Monday, and perhaps the most notable feature was the fact that the FIFA secretary general is a woman from Senegal, Fatma Samoura. Women are conquering new spaces these days, and it is worth celebrating that the second in command at FIFA is a woman. And from a developing region, too. It seems relevant to me, given that football is such a traditionally ‘masculine’ space. I liked seeing her there in a traditional outfit between the impeccable suits of Iñígo Méndez de Vigo (the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport), José Ramón Lete (president of the Higher Sports Council), and Juan Luís Larrea (interim president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)). It would have been an unthinkable image a few years ago.

Spain, FIFA, and the Villar case

Spanish delegation ease FIFA concerns

The meeting left an air of optimism. There was nothing to make us think that Spain will not go to the World Cup. FIFA was concerned by the Spanish State Council’s recommendation that fresh elections for the RFEF presidency should be held. FIFA saw that as possible governmental interference in the world of football. On Monday, an argument was presented to Samoura to dispute that claim: The State Council recently opposed the government’s proposed strategy in respect of Catalonia. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that its decision regarding RFEF elections will not be influenced by the government.

Spain, FIFA, and the Villar case

Nature of post-Villar Federation still in question

Méndez de Vigo released an optimistic statement, accepted by FIFA without protest, in which both parties respect that the matter will be resolved ‘through established legal channels’. Meanwhile, we know that the State Council has taken another step forward, and that it will not decide this Thursday on whether new RFEF elections will be held, the main source of controversy. A key question is whether, with Ángel Maria Villar out of the picture, the future of the RFEF will constructed on the debris of ‘Villarism’, or with a new plan. That is what we will follow, while the State Council, which has gone three weeks without making a decision, continues to not decide.