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Spanish football chief arrested

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The head of Spain's football federation was arrested yesterday in an investigation into suspected corruption by top officials.

Angel Maria Villar, his son Gorka Villar, and several Spanish federation executives were detained by Spanish police on suspicion of embezzlement, fraud and collusion. Mr Villar Snr, a former player for the Spanish national team, has been president of the federation for almost 30 years and is also a vice-president of Fifa and Uefa.

Police said the investigation originated in allegations made last year by Spain's state sports council. Another member of the national federation and an official of the Tenerife football association were also detained on supsicion of misappropriating funds and chanelling them to a company they jointly manage.

Apparently, one issue the investigation was looking into was whether there had been any improper channellng of football-related business to Gorka Villar, a lawyer specialising in sports law.  Investigators are also believed to be probing whether national federation funds had been used to bribe regional officials to vote for the elder Mr Villar as federation president.  He was elected in May to his eighth four year mandate.

In 2015 he was fined SFr25,000 by Fifa's ethics committee for failing to cooperate with an investigation into the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, although he did subsequently contribute to the investigation.