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Ramos doubts Spain will actually miss the 2018 World Cup

Fifa threaten football association with action over ‘government interference’

Image Credit: Reuters
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos attends a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Friday ahead of the Club World Cup final.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos says he doubts Spain will miss out on next year’s World Cup due to an institutional dispute.

Fifa has warned the Spanish football association that government interference in the election for their new president could lead to Spain being expelled from Russia 2018.

But Ramos, captain of the Spain national team, said he can’t see it happening. “I cannot believe that Spain could lose what we have worked so hard for on the pitch due to an institutional dispute, I struggle to believe that,” he said on the sidelines of the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Juan Luis Larrea is leading the football association on a temporary basis after Angel Maria Villar was forced to step down on corruption charges.

However, the government’s sports department is apparently pressuring the football association to stave off on new elections.

A Fifa statement read: “We can confirm that Fifa recently sent a letter to the Spanish football association showing its concern with the situation the federation is in and reminding it that all member associations should manage their affairs independently.

“All associations must be assured there is no outside interference from third parties in its internal affairs. Fifa is in contact with the Spanish football association and, in the next few weeks, a delegation of Fifa and Uefa members will travel to Madrid to analyse the situation the Spanish football association is in.”

A statement from the Spanish football association said interim president Larrea had discussed the matter with Fifa at the World Cup draw on December 1.

“The Spanish football association passed on Fifa’s concerns to the minister for sport and is expecting to organise a meeting on the matter. The Spanish football association wants everything to return to normal, that has always been the main objective of the current board of directors.

“We underline that we all want the national team to participate in the 2018 World Cup, especially after its brilliant qualifying campaign.”

Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy said he also doubts the national team will be barred from playing next summer. “I cannot contemplate that scenario, I’m absolutely convinced Spain will go to the World Cup and that we are going to win it.”