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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Spanish prosecutors probe Super Cup contracts after leaks

Piqué, who has played in two Super Cups in Saudi Arabia for Barcelona, has denied any wrongdoing or conflict of interest.

By: AP |
Updated: May 20, 2022 7:36:02 am
Real Madrid's payers celebrate after winning the Spanish Super Cup final soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at King Fahd stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. (AP)

Spanish state prosecutors have opened an investigation into the contracts behind the country’s Super Cup soccer matches in Saudi Arabia following leaked audio between the president of the federation and player Gerard Piqué regarding millions of dollars in commissions.

The state prosecutors’ office told The Associated Press on Thursday that an anti-corruption investigation had been initiated recently. The probe comes roughly a month after an on-line Spanish newspaper published stolen audio files of conversations between Piqué and Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales. The audio revealed that Piqué helped to negotiate a 24 million euro ($25.3 million) commission to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

Piqué’s company, Kosmos group, would have pocketed 4 million euros ($4.2 million) per tournament from the Saudi organizers for negotiating the six-year agreement, according to El Confidencial newspaper, which released the audio in April.

Piqué, who has played in two Super Cups in Saudi Arabia for Barcelona, has denied any wrongdoing or conflict of interest. The federation, which is run by Rubiales, has also said there was nothing illegal in the transactions. The probe could lead to a judicial investigation and then a possible court case if evidence of wrongdoing is found.

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The federation overhauled the format of the Super Cup in 2020, creating a four-team mini tournament and moving the competition to Saudi Arabia as part of a deal that was reportedly worth 40 million euros ($42 million) per tournament for the federation.

The investigation was started in response to a complaint filed by Miguel Ángel Galán, the president of the National Center for the Training of Soccer Coaches. On hearing of the official probe, the Spanish soccer federation announced that it contacted the state prosecutors’ office for anti-corruption “to facilitate any documentation that is required or clarify any questions.”

“I am calm because I have not done anything illegal,” Rubiales said Wednesday at the Europa League final in Seville. “I have always worked hard for Spanish soccer.”

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