Former Spanish referee boss charged with alleged embezzlement

Former Spanish referee boss charged with alleged embezzlement
Credit: Belga

The former head of Spain’s Technical Refereeing Committee, CTA, Victoriano Sánchez Arminio, will have to appear in court on embezzlement charges as part of an investigation into the former management of the Spanish Football Federation, RFEF.

This investigation is different from the so-called ‘Negreira affair.’

The Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s top criminal court, has ordered the judge leading the investigation to hear Sanchez Arminio, who headed the CTA between 1993 and 2019, as well as the body’s former secretary general, Raúl Massó.

The court order, made public on Tuesday, also requires former RFEF president Ángel María Villar, to appear again as an accused.

This investigation is a precursor to the refereeing scandal known as the ‘Negreira affair’ which has been rocking Spanish football for several weeks, and involves multi-million-euro payments by Barcelona to companies owned by former CTA vice-president José Maria Enriquez Negreira.

The Audiencia Nacional gave the order to judge Alejandro Abascal after partially supporting an appeal by La Liga against the magistrate’s decision not to summon Sánchez Arminio and Massó, even though they had already given evidence.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, which supported La Liga’s appeal, the expert reports showed an “accounting imbalance in the amount of €7,999,013.18.”

This amount was “not justified under the provisions of the coordination agreements” between the RFEF and La Liga, raising suspicions that the funds paid by La Liga for arbitration fees were not used for the purposes for which they were earmarked.

This case is part of the so-called “Soule” investigation, launched in the summer of 2017, in which former RFEF president Ángel María Villar has been indicted.

Villar, president of the RFEF for 29 years, is suspected of having created a clientelist network through which he used Spanish national football team matches to benefit a company owned by his son Gorka.

He also allegedly used the RFEF to give benefits to regional federation presidents “whose support he was not assured of,” according to an order by Judge Pedraz, the then investigating judge in the case.

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