FIFA extends invitation to new Spanish football president. GETTY IMAGES

FIFA has extended an invitation to Pedro Rocha, recently appointed President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation to replacethe controversial Luis Rubiales, to attend the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, from 13-17 May.

FIFA's invitation is addressed to the President of the RFEF, as Rocha is the main representative of Spanish football for the International Federation, and not Vicente del Bosque, who is the President of theCommission for Supervision, Standardisation and Representation set up by the Superior Sports Council (CSD).

In other words, FIFA recognises Rocha's mandate at the helm of Spanish football, replacing Rubiales, despite the back-and-forth with the Spanish government, led by the Socialist Pedro Sanchez, who, in a bid to normalise and improve the image of the game, has promoted the intervention of the entity under the national government's Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sport to oversee the functioning of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in the coming months.

Despite the government's assertion that "it is based on the Sports Law, which emphasises the role of the General State Administration in representing Spanish sport and also provides for public supervision in those aspects considered to be of general interest to the State", FIFA denies its power to represent Spanish football, which will be exercised by Pedro Rocha, who will attend the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok next week in that capacity.

Rocha has confirmed his presence in the Thai capital, where issues relating to the joint bid by Spain, Morocco and Portugal for the 2030 World Cup will be discussed.

Pedro Rocha, President of the RFEF. GETTY IMAGES
Pedro Rocha, President of the RFEF. GETTY IMAGES

FIFA is wary of any government intervention that goes beyond words ('normalisation'), and this is a matter that FIFA President Gianni Infantino and RFEF President Rocha will address personally.

FIFA, which has its headquarters in Switzerland and is governed by the laws of the canton in which it is based, suspects that the Spanish government is interfering with the RFEF, something that is expressly forbidden by FIFA's statutes and has led to a number of sanctions in the past.

In fact, item 4 on the agenda of this week's 74th FIFA Congress states that the suspension or expulsion of member associations due to government interference will be examined.

This extreme measure seems unlikely given the importance of the Spanish federation and the fact that dialogue and persuasion with the Spanish government have not been exhausted in an attempt to persuade them to reject the "normalisation process" or at least allow FIFA members to participate in it.