Why is corruption rife in Spanish football?

Ángel María Villar, president of the Spanish Football Federation and vice president of Fifa and the Uefa Union of European Football Associations, was arrested on Tuesday. He is under investigation for collusion, fraud and embezzlement. Spain's media examine the background to the scandal.

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El País (ES) /

The disgrace could have been avoided

The Spanish football association only has itself to blame for its president's shameful arrest, El País observes:

“For Villar, the eternal president, this is the end. It should have come sooner; then it would have spared Spanish football, so brilliantly competitive, the shame of seeing its highest official taken into custody by the police. This is the moment to learn the lessons of the long, dark night of Ángel María Villar. The first is that there must be a limit on the number of mandates as president. Moreover, the exercise of power in the federation must be submitted to intense scrutiny each year. This has not been the case so far.”

eldiario.es (ES) /

An end to impunity

For eldiarios.es this arrest marks the end of an era:

“Now we must see how, in the end, the police had to step in to dismantle the regime of corruption, clientelism and arbitrariness. … Apparently for three decades not a single government or controlling body was capable of detecting, exposing and punishing the barrage of irregularities, favouritism and corruption. … The reason for such impunity couldn't be more obvious: no one wanted to stir up the hornets' nest of football and end up becoming public enemy number one for half of Spain. It's true that football lived on the fringes of the law thanks to the tolerance and complicity of politicians, administrations, governments, controlling bodies and media. But this was also done amidst the applause of a majority of what many call public opinion and others call the citizens - or in other words our applause.”