Spanish football 'paid 15 million euros' for controversial friendly against Equatorial Guinea

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The leader of Equatorial Guinea’s opposition in exile has accused the Spanish Football Federation of taking 15 million euros in return for playing a match in the African nation well known for its human rights violations.

The Spanish team has faced international criticism for its decision to play Saturday’s friendly game.

It is the first time a non-African country has played in Malabo since President Nguema seized power from his uncle in a coup in 1979.

When asked why the team was playing the match, which pits the world champions against a side ranking 119th in the world, Spanish coach, Vicente del Bosque refused to comment.

“I won’t answer this question” del Bosque told reporters, adding, “ask anything else but I won’t respond to this one.”

However Equatorial Guinea’s opposition leader in exile, Severo Moto, told euronews the reason was a payment of millions of euros.

“We (the opposition) got this information from the Equatorial Guinea embassy in Madrid, and it said that 15 million euros was paid in order to have this match. We would like this match to be an incentive for the international community to say no to this dictatorial and cruel rule that Obiang uses against the people of Equatorial Guinea.”

Del Bosque has shrugged off criticism saying they don’t want to get involved in politics.

“We are only sports people, only footballers and we’re not here to give prestige, nor strengthen, nor overthrow, nor go against anyone,” Del Bosque said.

Equatorial Guinea was a Spanish colony until the late 1960s.

Human rights groups accuse President Obiang of torturing political opponents, a lack of freedom of speech and of plundering the country’s oil wealth.

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