"The only ones responsible for the possibility that the national team could miss out on the World Cup is the current government," said suspended RFEF (Spanish Football Federation) chief, Ángel María Villar -who is currently awaiting trial for charges of corruption- three days after Fifa threatened to exclude Spain from the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
According to Fifa rules, federations must “manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties”. However, the process of electing a new RFEF chief has come under scrutiny following a complaint allegedly lodged by Villar himself.
This came after the Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD), the Spanish government's national sports council, forced the RFEF to stage a presidential election following Villar's suspension and arrest.
According to news agency Efe, the RFEF has received a letter from Fifa warning them over their conduct. If they fail to comply, the national team will be excluded from the World Cup, opening the door for Italy, among other nations.
“It won't happen”
Both Fifa and acting RFEF president Juan Luis Larrea confirmed on Friday that talks would take place after Christmas, while the latter moved to calm fears, telling the sports newspaper AS: “No-one is going to take Spain out of the World Cup. It's impossible and never been talked about. It's the final straw when people say things like that.
“It won't happen. What do these people want: that Spain are withdrawn from the tournament so Italy can get in?
“The federation is functioning normally, the national team earned their place on the pitch, and Fifa agree with us on that.”