LISTEN: Luis Rubiales voice note to UEFA President reveals alleged salary plan with Gerard Pique

Former Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales is in the headlines again, after a voice note sent to UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has been published.

In a report from The Objective, Rubiales discusses what they allege to be using UEFA funds that usually are made in solidarity payments to national football federations in order to be distributed to throughout the game, taken from the money UEFA earn from TV rights deals and amounting to around 4% of that total, to create a solidarity fund to cover for losses to player salaries during the Covid-19 Pandemic. That money would be used to cover cuts to salaries.

The conversation they say is from the 2nd of April 2020, just days after Barcelona reportedly proposed a 70% wage cut to the squad to deal with the effects of the pandemic. They say that Rubiales spoke with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, and an hour later sent the following to Ceferin.

They discuss keeping the matter confidential, and allege that Lionel Messi has also given his blessing for the plan, but is keen for the matter to remain private in order to avoid it becoming a major story.

Several text chains were also released, the former from Rubiales to Ceferin, speaking of the importance of having Messi’s backing.

LR: “When we start again, you visit it us, and we can announce it with Leo and some players by your side.”

AC: “It’s your idea, I will always say so.”

LR: “Sorry! Autocorrect! I’m saying that it’s important for us to have Messi and the rest with us. Without any need to put in money. All we’re doing is changing the destination, and we continue giving money to the youth clubs rather than paying salaries, but not for the rest of the clubs.”

A second chain with Pique was also released, where the Catalan defender alleges that Messi is behind Rubiales’ plans.

LR: “That’s the way it is… How was your call with Leo?”

GP: ” Very good. He’s with you on this, and he’s going to help us.”

LR: “We’ll go ahead.”

Two days later, they discuss including the salaries of all players, rather than just the major ones.

LR: “Hello President. Have you thought about the idea we’re discussing? If you still think we can do it, I think you should say so to Leo Messi, at the right time. He is scared that someone knows that we are taking over the salaries of the big players, but he – and the rest of the players – will be with us. We’re the only ones that are aware of that. I wanted to call you later.”

“Also we will include the salary of the poor players. All together in a big revelation. A very big hug.”

AC: “Good idea. I have a videoconference. And at 20h another one. Can we speak tomorrow morning?”

There is no evidence of any such plan taking place in the end, but it certainly does not paint any of the four parties in the best light – something that the desire for confidentiality shows they were aware off. The Objective say there is potential legal grounds for an investigation into trafficking of influence, but no such case has been opened as of yet.

Rubiales is currently facing two further legal battles, as the RFEF are investigated for corruption, and he is also on trial for sexual assault and coercion regarding Jenni Hermoso.

Tags Aleksander Ceferin Barcelona Gerard Pique Lionel Messi Luis Rubiales RFEF Spain La Roja UEFA
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