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Spanish football chief sent to prison


Madrid, July 22: Angel Maria Villar, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), was denied bail and sent to prison by the judge investigating corruption allegations against him.

Villar entered the Soto del Real prison at around 9 p.m. local time on Thursday, while his son, Gorka and the president of the Tenerife Federation, Juan Padron were also denied bail and jailed pending trial, reports Xinhua news agency.

A fourth person arrested in the operation, Ramon Hernandez-Baussau, was granted bail of 100,000 euros ($116563).

Villar, who has been RFEF President since 1988 and was only recently elected unopposed, was arrested along with the other defendants on Tuesday. He was accused of building a corruption network to siphon off money made through irregularities in arranging friendly matches for the Spanish national side and in contracting companies with links to family members in order to obtain further benefits.

Among some of the games under suspicion are friendly matches Spain played against South Korea in 2010 and 2012, against Chile in 2008, 2011 and 2013, Mexico in 2010, Colombia in 2011 and 2017 and Argentina in 2009 and 2011.

Villar is also accused of directly favouring some regional RFEF presidents in order to assure their support for his continued presidency.

He is now facing calls to resign from his position as RFEF President in order to allow new elections to take place.

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