Ángel María Villar resigns from Uefa and Fifa positions after arrest in Spain | Football

Ángel María Villar, who is being held in jail in Spain on suspicion of corruption, has resigned from his positions with Uefa and Fifa.

European football’s governing body said in a statement on Thursday that Villar had offered his resignation a day earlier “as vice-president of Uefa and member of the Uefa executive committee with immediate effect”. The 67-year-old, who has denied all allegations, has also stepped down as the senior vice-president of Fifa. He was the most senior of eight vice-presidents behind the Fifa president, Gianni Infantino.

Villar, one of the most powerful men in world football over the past few decades, was arrested in Spain last week in an investigation into suspected corruption connected to his position as president of the Spanish football federation. His son, Gorka Villar, was also among the four football officials arrested. The four were detained on 18 July on allegations of collusion, embezzlement and falsifying documents.

Spain’s government suspended Villar from the national federation presidency for one year on Tuesday. An interim replacement was appointed on Wednesday.

Villar was elected to the Uefa executive committee 25 years ago and was its top official for nearly a year in 2015-16 while the then president Michel Platini was suspended by Fifa.

Uefa said its president, Aleksander Ceferin, accepted Villar’s letter of resignation and “thanked him for his many years of service to European football”.

“In view of the ongoing court proceedings in Spain, we have no further comments to make on this matter,” Uefa said in a brief statement.

Villar and his son were denied bail last week and transferred from a police jail to the Soto del Real prison near Madrid after being questioned by a judge. The judge cited flight risks after detailing how Villar allegedly misappropriated private and public funds while president of Spain’s federation “at least since 2009”.

Prosecutors allege that Villar used his influence to funnel private and public funds into regional federations in exchange for votes to remain in power for eight consecutive terms. He is also suspected of using his control of the television rights for Spain’s friendly matches to secure economic benefits for his son, a sports lawyer who has worked for South American football’s governing body, Conmebol, under three presidents who were implicated in corruption cases.

As head of Spain’s football federation since 1988, Villar also was a board member of the Spanish national Olympic committee. He is a former Spain international who later qualified as a lawyer.

In 2015 he was fined and warned by Fifa’s ethics committee for failing to cooperate with the investigation into the bidding race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals tournaments, having led the joint bid of Portugal and Spain for the 2018 tournament.

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Spanish FA president Ángel María Villar Llona arrested on corruption charges | Football

Police in Spain say they have arrested Ángel María Villar Llona, the president of Spain’s football association, Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF).

Villar Llona, who is also a senior vice-president at Fifa and Uefa, was arrested on Tuesday morning along with his son and three other federation executives as part of an anti-corruption investigation.

Spain’s Guardia Civil said in a statement on Tuesday that Villar Llona, his son Gorka, and three other football officials were detained while raids were carried out at the federation headquarters in Madrid.

Police said the other three men who were arrested were Juan Padron, the federation vice president of economic affairs, and both the president and the secretary of the regional federation for Tenerife.

Police said the five men were arrested on charges of corruption as part of an investigation into the finances of the federations.

Spain’s minister of education, culture and sport, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, said moments after the raids that “in Spain the laws are enforced, the laws are the same for all, and nobody is above the law”.

Uefa said in a statement it “is aware of the reports regarding Mr Villar Llona. We have no comment to make at this time.”

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