By Associated Press
MADRID: Audios stolen from the Spanish soccer federation by hackers revealed Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué helped to negotiate a 24 million euros ($25.9 million) commission to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.
The federation changed the format of the Super Cup in 2020, creating a “Final Four” and moving the competition to Saudi Arabia as part of a deal that was reportedly worth 40 million euros per tournament for the federation.
Piqué’s Kosmos group would be paid four million euros per tournament by the Saudi organizers for negotiating the six-year agreement, according to El Confidencial newspaper, which released the audios on Monday.
Piqué said in the audios that the money would be divided between the clubs, and the federation would keep about six million euros.
The federation told El Confidencial there was nothing illegal in what was said in the audios or in the negotiations, and the details of the deal had already been released.
Piqué also defended himself and said there was no wrongdoing.
“I don’t have anything to hide. Everything we did was legal,” Piqué said early Tuesday. “I’m proud because we did a spectacular job.
“I know how to separate a commercial deal from my job as a player. A conflict of interest will depend on each person’s own values.”
When the agreement was first announced, federation president Luis Rubiales said they would not pay any commission to Piqué.
The federation received a lot of criticism from human rights groups at the time for its decision to play in Saudi Arabia.
The Super Cup had to be played in Spain again in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The release of the audios came a few days after the federation said it was targeted by hackers who also stole emails, text messages and documents involving its top officials.
The federation said it believed the information was offered anonymously to media outlets in Spain. It said it asked authorities to investigate.
Also, Rubiales is accused of making some derogatory remarks about Atlético Madrid in some of the audios.