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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Roundup: Spanish soccer federation head arrested

Football Roundup: Spanish soccer federation head arrested

July 18, 2017 20:17 IST

Spanish soccer federation head arrested in graft investigation

Angel Maria Villar

IMAGE: UEFA Vice President Angel Maria Villar. Photograph: Handout/UEFA via Getty Images

The head of Spain's soccer federation (RFEF) Angel Maria Villar, a FIFA vice president, was arrested on Tuesday after a raid on several offices in Madrid as part of an anti-corruption investigation, police said.

Villar, his son - named by Spanish media as Gorka - and several other Spanish soccer federation members were detained on allegations of collusion, fraud and embezzlement, the police said in a statement.

Spain's High Court said one of its investigating magistrates and anti-corruption prosecutors were leading the investigation.

The RFEF could not be reached for comment.

Villar, a one-time midfielder for Athletic Bilbao, has been at the head of the federation for nearly 30 years.

He was fined 25,000 Swiss francs ($26,000) last year by FIFA's Ethics Committee for failing to co-operate with an investigation into the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that triggered the worst crisis in the soccer world governing body's history.

Villar is also a vice-president of UEFA and ran for the presidency of that body last year to replace Frenchman Michel Platini before withdrawing, after being asked to stand for re-election at the RFEF.

FIFA and UEFA said in separate statements they were aware of media reports surrounding Villar but had no further comment.

The investigation into Villar is already several months old and stems from claims raised by the Spanish state's sports body in early 2016, police said.

At least four people were arrested in Tuesday's raids, according to police.

They included another member of the RFEF and an executive from the Tenerife soccer association, who are accused of misappropriating funds and siphoning them off to a company they both manage, police said.

The RFEF is due to hold an assembly on July 20 to approve the match schedule for Spain's next La Liga soccer season, a meeting usually presided over by Villar.

Middlesbrough break club transfer record for Forest striker Assombalonga

Middlesbrough have signed striker Britt Assombalonga from Nottingham Forest for a club record 15 million pounds ($19.65 million), the Championship side have confirmed.

The 24-year-old joined Forest in 2014 before sustaining a knee injury that kept him out of action for much of the 2015-16 season. He returned last season, netting 14 goals in 32 league matches.

"I can't wait to get started and train with the boys. I'm glad it's completed and I can focus on what's ahead now," the Democratic Republic of Congo native told Middlesbrough's website. (www.mfc.co.uk)

"I can't wait to meet the manager and get ready for next season. There's a good feeling around the place. From the minute I walked in it felt right."

Assombalonga is new manager Garry Monk's fifth signing of the transfer window as the club look to seal an immediate return to the Premier League after being relegated last season.

Middlesbrough's previous record signing was Brazilian striker Afonso Alves, who joined from Dutch side Heerenveen for around 12 million pounds in 2008, according to British media reports.

Tottenham defender Trippier signs new five-year deal

Tottenham Hotspur defender Kieran Trippier has signed a new five-year contract to extend his stay until 2022, the Premier League club said.

The 26-year-old made 22 appearances for Spurs last season and is expected to start the new campaign as the first-choice right back after Kyle Walker secured a moved to Manchester City last week.

"I'm delighted with the new deal," Trippier told the club website. "It's a great achievement for myself. I always believed I could play at the top level and have been working hard.

"Even when I've not been playing, I've been keeping my head down and working hard in training."

Trippier's impressive performances for the north London side earned the defender his first England team call-up in June. He made his debut in a 3-2 defeat by France.

Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs, who finished second in the league last season, begin their campaign with a visit to Newcastle United on Aug. 13.

Screwed-up paper costs Rangers 7,000 euros UEFA fine

Rangers have been fined 7,000 euros ($8,091.30) after screwed-up pieces of paper were thrown on to the pitch by fans during their Europa League tie against Progres Niederkorn at Ibrox last month, UEFA said.

UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body found the Scottish side guilty of breaching its disciplinary regulations relating to the throwing of objects on to the playing field.

Pedro Caixinha's Rangers won the match 1-0 but were beaten 2-0 by the Luxembourg minnows in the return leg, suffering a shock exit from the Europa League in the qualifying stages.

Juventus-bound Arsenal keeper Szczesny lands in Turin

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was on the verge of joining Juventus as the Serie A champions flagged up the Poland international's arrival.

"Look who's just landed," the Turin club wrote on their official Twitter account next to a picture of Szczesny.

British media reported on Monday that Arsenal had accepted a 10 million pound ($13 million) fee for Szczesny, who spent the past two seasons on loan at AS Roma.

Szczesny featured in all 38 Serie A games for Roma last season and finished with 14 clean sheets, the most in the league.

The 27-year-old, capped 28 times by Poland, is expected to act as backup at Juventus for Italy's veteran number one goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon.

Szczesny made 132 appearances for Arsenal.

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