Sevilla president Jose del Nido is set for jail after Spain’s supreme court rejected his appeal against a conviction for the misappropriation of almost three million euros in public funds.
The original judgement, handed down in December 2011, found that the lawyer had been responsible for issuing fake bills totalling 2.86 million euros to Malaga’s town hall for services which were never carried out.
Del Nido continued as president of the La Liga club while the appeal was being heard, overseeing transfer policy, representing Sevilla at all games, and talking regularly in the Spanish media. But on Thursday, Spain’s highest legal authority rejected the appeal and, barring a last-minute government pardon, the 56-year-old will go to prison.
The Andalucian club reacted quickly with a short statement but have not yet said who will replace Del Nido, who had talked vaguely of a succession plan should his appeal not be successful.
"The Supreme Court has imposed seven years of prison on the lawyer and president of Sevilla FC, Jose Maria del Nido, for the so-called 'Minutas Case', relating to the services given to the Marbella Town Hall," the club statement said. "The court only lessened by six months the sentence which was imposed on Del Nido by the Malaga court, which judged the case in 2011."
Del Nido took charge of Sevilla in 2002 and the club then won UEFA Cup, Copa Del Rey, Spanish Supercopa and the European Super Cup trophies under his guidance. However recent seasons have been less successful, and he himself warned last summer that the 'Sevilla of the trophies' days were over. With the club over 100 million euros in debt, stars including Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Gary Medel were all sold in the following months.