Withdrawal of Casillas gives Rubiales free run in RFEF election
Iker Casillas, the former captain of the Spain soccer team, has today pulled out as a candidate for the presidency of the RFEF, the national federation.
The move leaves incumbent Luis Rubiales unopposed in the election due to take place on 17 August.
The 39-year-old Casillas (pictured), who won 167 caps for Spain as a goalkeeper and led the team to victory at the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, said he was withdrawing because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Casillas, also a highly decorated player in a long spell at LaLiga giants Real Madrid, cited “the exceptional social, economic and health situation that our country is suffering, which means the elections take a back seat.”
Spain has been one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, with over 27,000 deaths, and Casillas, who announced his candidacy in February, has been unable to campaign in earnest. However, he has not ruled out standing in the next electoral process.
Rubiales, 42 and also an ex-player, is now set to earn a new four-year term in office.
He was elected in May 2018 to complete the term of Ángel María Villar, the long-serving leader of the RFEF, who had been ousted following a corruption scandal.
During his tenure, Rubiales, the former head of the AFE, the Spanish footballers' association, has been involved in high-profile disputes with LaLiga president Javier Tebas over issues including the staging of Spanish league matches on Mondays and Fridays and proposed regular season games in USA.
However, relations between the federation and the league have been more cordial while fixtures were suspended for three months during the pandemic.
This resulted in the Viana Pact brokered by the Spanish government, which facilitated the resumption of LaLiga and the second-tier Segunda División, behind closed doors, last week.
Tebas was re-elected last December, for a third term in office, running to 2023.