Pedro Rocha has been elected as president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) despite being under investigation as part of an ongoing corruption case.  

Rocha received a majority vote from the RFEF assembly members on Friday (April 26).

The governing body said in a statement: “Pedro Rocha has been proclaimed the new president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), after having received the support of the majority of the assembly members of this institution that governs Spanish football.”

The 69-year-old had been interim president since Luis Rubiales resigned in September for forcibly kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso.

Rocha’s election has caused controversy as the Spanish government formed a special committee to oversee the RFEF last Thursday while the courts carry out a corruption and money laundering investigation into the deal to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

The CSD, Spain’s Higher Sports Council, said it was taking the extraordinary measure for the coming months “in response to the crisis the institution is facing and in Spain's national interests.”

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The authority also stated the committee would be in place until the governing body held new elections.

However, the RFEF announced Rocha as president despite this following the meeting of its electoral commission.

Rocha was placed under investigation after he testified as a witness in the corruption probe into Rubiales who was arrested earlier this month.

Both Rocha and Rubiales have denied any wrongdoing.

When the CSD met on Thursday, it postponed a decision on whether to suspend Rocha until Tuesday (April 30).

That decision relates to disciplinary proceedings opened against him, on which the Administrative Court of Sport (TAD) will rule in the coming weeks.

Rubiales, who is accused of receiving illegal commissions during the process of negotiating a deal to stage the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, was released soon after his detention on arrival in Madrid from the Dominican Republic, where he had been when police searched his home last month.

Prosecutors are seeking a two-and-a-half-year jail term and have said that the operation was part of a wider investigation into allegations of corruption in business, improper management of assets, and money laundering.

The probe is linked to allegations of corruption and money laundering after the Super Cup was moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020, in a deal reportedly worth more than €40 million ($42.8 million) per year. The current hosting deal in the kingdom is set to last until 2029.

Rubiales was subsequently handed a three-year ban from all soccer-related activities by world governing body FIFA for kissing Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup final.

He is also awaiting trial at Spain’s highest criminal court for alleged sexual assault and coercion – a charge he denies.

The Spanish government has expressed concern for the reputational damage to the federation while Spain is set to co-host the 2030 men's World Cup with Portugal and Morocco.

FIFA and European soccer's governing body UEFA issued a joint statement saying they were closely watching the developments in Spain with “great concern.”

They said they would seek “additional information” from the CSD to see how its oversight “may affect the (RFEF's) obligation to manage its affairs independently and without undue government interference.”