La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that the Spanish FA, and its president Angel Maria Villar, appears not to be taking the current revelations of match-fixing seriously enough.
On August 5, Tebas, along with Spain’s sports minister Miguel Cardenal, announced that three Primera Division and six Segunda Division games from the 2012-13 season were being investigated for match-fixing, with suspicions of both illegal betting practices and of ‘third-party incentive’ payments being made to affect results.
Villar subsequently dodged reporters’ questions on the issue, merely stating that he saw Spanish football as being in a “marvellous” condition.
Tebas, who has clashed regularly with Villar over a range of issues in the past, told Sphera Sports that he would like to see the Royal Federacion Espanola de Futbol and its long-serving chief play a bigger role in combatting corruption in the Spanish game.
“I believe they should be getting more involved in what is being done,” Tebas said. “It is not enough to let the public investigators act. The Federation, as much as the league, have the ability to take decisions with the information we have. I want to fight and battle against this and to eradicate this problem that we have. We are fighting to work alongside the Federation on these issues, but if they do not agree with our speed in the battle against corruption in football, or in the form of doing so -- well, each one must take their own path.”
The fact that investigations had been launched, and club figures including Girona club president Joaquim Boadas had come forward to denounce the dodgy practices, should be seen as a positive as something was now finally being done about issues that were previously ignored, Tebas said.
“Maybe what is a surprise is that the bull has now been taken by the horns, and we have left off speculating to go forward with actual information,” he said. “There is a lot of money involved in football, so there being some crimes around it is not that strange, similar to there being crimes in politics or with the banks. The strange thing was before, when it was said that football was marvellous and there was nothing wrong.
“We can take from the archives what happened some seasons ago. This was not all born this morning -- it has been going on for a while. When you see it is growing and growing, you feel obliged to fight against it. Some say that Spanish football is being damaged, but in reality it generates credibility, both for the competition and for the clubs. Damage is when it happens, it is known, and not cleaned up. Plus, this has produced a further effect: there is no day when we do not receive more information to keep fighting.”
If conclusive proof of match-fixing is found, Tebas said the LFP can take immediate and drastic action, even relegating a club mid-season for wrong-doing carried out by its executives or players.
“The implicated club, whether through its directors or its players, could be expelled from the competition,” he said. “And if decisions have to be taken midway through a season, teams will be relegated.”