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Spain FA boss denies using union money to finance home renovation

NYCFC and former Spain striker David Villa discusses Spain's early World Cup exit, the expectations for La Roja under Luis Enrique and more.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti assesses Spain's decision to appoint Luis Enrique and the challenges he may face as an international manager.

Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales denied reports he paid for the renovation of his house with money from the Spanish footballers' association (AFE).

Rubiales, who led the players' union prior to being appointed to lead the RFEF in May, was accused by an architect in a legal complaint of offering to make the €120,000 payment for the work on the house in Valencia through the AFE, according to El Mundo. The architect also alleged that Rubiales, in the process of negotiating the payment, assaulted her in the back of a taxi.

"I did not pay for the renovation of my house with money from AFE," Rubiales told Cadena Cope's "El Partidazo de Cope" radio show. "I'm an honest person and I'm very calm."

The AFE has denied in a statement that it had financed any renovation done on Rubiales' home, and though it acknowledged having hired a contractor to assess the feasibility of the request, the agreement was later cancelled.

Meanwhile, Rubiales said he was contacted by an official with Newcastle United who offered to make manager Rafa Benitez available for hire by the RFEF.

Rubiales sacked Julen Lopetegui shortly before the start of the World Cup, replacing him on an interim basis with Fernando Hierro, and then appointed former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique as Lopetegui's full-time successor on July 19.

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish football federation
Luis Rubiales denied he used money from the Spanish footballers' union to finance a renovation of his home.

"When I dismissed Julen, I immediately contacted Hierro," Rubiales said. "I told him, 'We are not going to make changes.' Two days later I received a letter from Newcastle saying, 'Are you interested in our coach? He is available.' We said, 'Thank you, but no.'"

Benitez, who has been with Newcastle since March 2016, has yet to sign a new contract with his current deal ending next summer.

"We would have never done that," Rubiales said. "We would not have brought Benitez in because it would have meant that we would have acted in the same way in which we had reproached Julen Lopetegui for."

Rubiales said Luis Enrique was the only candidate the RFEF considered for the position.

"He is a top coach," Rubiales said. "It's what the national team needed."

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