Spain's Disgraced Ex-Soccer Chief Is Arrested

Luis Rubiales is detained at the airport in connection with an ongoing corruption investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2024 10:44 AM CDT
Spain's Disgraced Ex-Soccer Chief Is in More Trouble
Luis Rubiales arrives at the National Court in Madrid on Sept. 15.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

Luis Rubiales, the disgraced former president of Spain's soccer federation who kissed a player on the lips without her consent at the Women's World Cup final, was arrested Wednesday as part of a separate corruption probe by Spanish police before being released. The Civil Guard said that Rubiales was questioned by police at Madrid's airport after he was detained upon arriving home from the Dominican Republic. He was released a few hours later, reports the AP. An investigative judge is expected to summon him for more questioning in the coming days. Rubiales was returning to Spain amid a judicial probe into business deals while he ran the federation, including his biggest decision to move the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

Rubiales was in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago when police raided a property he owns in Granada and the offices of the Spanish Football Federation in Madrid. Seven people were arrested before being released, and Rubiales was identified as one of five additional individuals under investigation. The corruption and money laundering investigation is looking into contracts for the Spanish Super Cup and the federation's links with Seville's La Cartuja Stadium, which hosts the Copa del Rey final and some international games, among other deals. Rubiales stepped down as president of the federation in September and is facing a trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Spanish player Jenni Hermoso. He has denied wrongdoing.

As president of Spanish soccer, Rubiales overhauled the format of the Spanish 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 $42 million per tournament for the federation. Prosecutors opened a probe of that deal in 2022 following leaked audio between Rubiales and then-Barcelona player Gerard Pique regarding millions of dollars in commissions. Pique's sports entertainment company, Kosmos, was involved in the deal with the federation and Saudi Arabia. "I don't know what the judge has said or what [the] Civil Guard has investigated," Rubiales tells Spanish television channel La Sexta. "The money in my bank account is the result of my work and my savings."

(More Luis Rubiales stories.)

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