Spain chief cancels officials’ planned €2 million trip to World Cup

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Luis Rubiales

The new president of the Spanish Football Federation says he’s been able to cancel a previously arranged trip to the World Cup that would have cost nearly €2 million.

Luis Rubiales said on Tuesday he got the money reimbursed, and the federation will spend only about €500,000 with new travel arrangements.

Rubiales said the savings will help negotiations for the players’ World Cup prize money.

Rubiales said he found out the federation gave an eight-day trip to about 150 local officials and sponsors. The original trip would have taken them to St Petersburg, Kazan, and Kaliningrad.

Spain will play group matches in Kazan and Kaliningrad but not in St. Petersburg.

“I’m very upset,” Rubiales said after learning of the expenditure. “This is going to affect the negotiations of the [World Cup] prize. If it was a trip of three days instead of an eight-day vacation, then we would have a bigger margin that could return to the players.”

Rubiales last month took over a federation which was in the hands of embattled official Angel Maria Villar for nearly three decades.

He was elected president over Juan Luis Larrea, the federation’s former treasurer and its interim leader since Villar — a former FIFA and UEFA vice president — was suspended following his arrest last year on suspicion of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.

Rubiales had said he believed Larrea approved the original trip, but the latter told Spanish media he had nothing to do with it.

“The federation is not here for something like this,” Rubiales said. “This is not going to happen again in the future.”