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

Former Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales is back in the news, after the publication of an audio memo sent to UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.

In a report from The Objective, Rubiales discussed what they claim is the use of UEFA funds that are typically given as solidarity payments to national football associations in order to distribute them around the match, taken from the money UEFA earns from TV rights deals and payouts. Finance. To about 4% of this total, to create a solidarity fund to cover player salary losses during the Covid-19 pandemic. These funds will be used to cover salary cuts.

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

They discuss keeping the matter secret, and claim that Lionel Messi has also given his blessing to the plan, but is keen for the matter to remain private to avoid it becoming a big story.

Several text threads have also been released, the first from Rubiales to Ceferin, talking about the importance of having Messi's support.

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

AK: “It's your idea, I'll always say that.”

LR: “Sorry! Auto correction! I say it is important for us to have Messi and the rest with us. Without any need to put money. All we do is change direction, and we continue to provide money to youth clubs instead of paying salaries, but not to the rest of the clubs.

A second series with Pique has also been launched, with the Catalan defender claiming Messi is behind Rubiales' plans.

LR: “That's the case… How was your call with Leo?”

JP: “Very good. He's with you on this, and he'll help us.”

LR: “We will move forward.”

Two days later, they discussed including the salaries of all players, not just key players.

LR: “Hello, boss. Have you thought about the idea we are discussing? If you still think we can do it, I think you should say that to Leo Messi, at the right time. He is afraid that someone will know that we are receiving the salaries of the big players, but he – and the rest of the players – will be with us. We are the only ones who realize this. “I wanted to call you later.”

He added: “We will also include the salaries of poor players. All together in a big revelation. A very big hug.”

AK: “Good idea. I have a video conference. And another 20 o'clock. Can we talk tomorrow morning?”

There is no evidence that any such plan ultimately occurred, but it certainly does not portray any of the four parties in the best light – something the desire for secrecy shows they were aware of. Target says there are potential legal grounds for an investigation into influence trafficking, but no such case has been opened yet.

Rubiales is currently facing two other legal battles, as the Spanish Football Federation is being investigated for corruption, and he is also on trial for sexual assault and coercion in relation to Gini Hermoso.


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