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Spanish court begins disciplinary procedures against Angel Maria Villar

BARCELONA -- Spain's administrative court for sport has initiated disciplinary procedures against Spanish Football Federation president Angel Maria Villar after he was arrested and jailed in a corruption probe.

The opening of the disciplinary procedure on Monday clears the way for Spain's sports authority, the Higher Council of Sport, to rule whether it will temporarily suspend Villar when they meet on Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time (1700 GMT).

The court's decision had been expected since Thursday, when the Higher Council of Sport asked the court to act against Villar following his arrest.

The Spanish league, which runs the top two divisions of club football and the women's club league, announced on Monday that it would take part in the case against Villar as an injured party.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has been a longtime critic of Villar and the federation, which governs the national teams, the calendar of the club competitions, and the Copa del Rey among other areas of Spanish football.

The 67-year-old Villar is suspected of misappropriating private and public funds received by the federation 'at least since 2009.'

Villar, his son Gorka, federation vice president Juan Padron, and Ramon Hernandez, the secretary of the regional football federation of Tenerife, were arrested last Tuesday when police raided the national federation's headquarters and other properties.

The four were arrested on charges of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.

National Court judge Santiago Pedraz ordered last week that the Villars and Padron remain in jail without bail after questioning them. Hernandez's bail was set at €100,000 ($116,000).

The elder Villar is FIFA's senior vice president and also a vice president of UEFA. He's been president of the Spanish federation since 1988.

Judge Pedraz said the 67-year-old Villar is suspected of misappropriating private and public funds received by the federation "at least since 2009."

Inigo Mendez de Vigo, the minister of education, culture and sport and the government spokesman, has said the government is prepared to take charge of the operations of the federation so football in the country is not harmed by the scandal.

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