Rubiales, Rocha and the dark plot behind Spanish football

The upcoming elections at the Royal Spanish Football Federation will be the turning point if an outsider wins 
El presidente de la Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF), Luis Rubiales - AFP/GABRIEL BOUYS
The former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales - AFP/GABRIEL BOUYS

The carpets and cupboards of the Royal Spanish Football Federation hide too many corpses and unspeakable secrets. Years of clientelism, of unproven corruption, of shady business deals and of people who live off the story. Luis Rubiales has made Villar good, or at least he has done all the things they accuse the former Basque leader of doing in a record time of just four years, with the kiss included, something Villar would never have done.  

Un cámara toma imágenes de la sede de la Federación Española de Fútbol donde un juez el 28 de septiembre de 2023 ha ordenado un registro policial en la sede del comité de árbitros español, en Las Rozas de Madrid - PHOTO/AFP/JAVIER SORIANO
A camera takes pictures of the headquarters of the Spanish Football Federation where a judge on 28 September 2023 has ordered a police search at the headquarters of the Spanish referees' committee, in Las Rozas de Madrid - PHOTO/AFP/JAVIER SORIANO

Rubiales has brought forward his return from the Dominican Republic, although before that he wanted to clean up his image by giving an interview to La Sexta where he told what he was expected to tell, which will be the same version he will offer to the judge investigating his case: that all the money he has sent from Spain to Santo Domingo has been earned through his work. It will be another matter for him to justify where the 300,000 euros in cash that was among his belongings came from.  

The former president of Spanish football, now disgraced for that kiss with Jennifer Hermoso and not for other acts, is a lawyer with a sharp fang who knows everything and what he doesn't know was told to him by Tomás González Cuento or Andreu Camps. Everything suggests that Rubiales had set up a money-making machine beyond the 600,000 euros he earned as president. His uncle Juan Rubiales says that "he needed 100,000 euros a month".  

La jugadora española Jenni Hermoso ha presentado una denuncia penal por el beso que le dio en la boca expresidente de la Real Federación Española de Fútbol, Luis Rubiales en la final del Mundial femenino - AFP/STEVE CHRISTO
Spain's Jenni Hermoso has filed a criminal complaint over a kiss on the mouth by former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales at the Women's World Cup final - AFP/STEVE CHRISTO

Pedro Rocha was his deputy, but not to run Spanish football, that was hardly of interest. He needed Rocha to be in the job and to stay in it so that the machinery would remain oiled and no one would have access to the past. The keeper of its secrets has resigned as president of the management and has called elections on 6 May, in which he obviously intends to stand and, what's more, has a good chance of winning. Miguel Galán, president of the National Training Centre for Spanish Football Coaches (CENAFE), has denounced the call because he claims that people like Jorge Vilda or Luis Enrique, who no longer belong to the RFEF, will vote.

This is where Carlos Herrera comes in, and he could be a dark horse or he could make the most dreadful fool of himself in living memory, which, miraculously, Iker Casillas avoided because of the pandemic. The outsiders who want to get their hands on the RFEF tend to come out of the woodwork. In this case it is the journalist Roberto Gómez who is pulling Herrera's strings, but the football that is being cooked up at the RFEF is far more important than what the communicator wants to do in that house in Las Rozas.  

At least they have prevented King Felipe VI from having to greet Pedro Rocha in La Cartuja, although His Majesty would prefer to go to the stands to watch the match with the fans of Mallorca or with some Athletic supporters, rather than get into the box with some of the most colourful people who, who knows, may end up in jail in a few months.  

Pedro Rocha, Fouzi Lekjaa y Fernando Gomes, presidentes de las Federaciones de Fútbol de España, Marruecos y Portugal - PHOTO/AFP
Pedro Rocha, Fouzi Lekjaa and Fernando Gomes, presidents of the Spanish, Moroccan and Portuguese Football Federations - PHOTO/AFP

The miseries of Spanish football involve pulling up carpets and opening cupboards. The problem is that everything that is hidden in these places could put an end to football in Spain as we know it today.  

What's more, the chaos is such that neither Pedro Sánchez is betting on Spain nor on the Bernabéu as the stadium for the 2030 World Cup final. Pressure from Catalonia is making him take a back seat or, who knows, even propose the new Camp Nou. For the moment, Morocco has moved much better and when the first stone of its monumental stadium is laid, the final will begin to take shape.