Barcelona star is in the spotlight over €40m Super Cup deal with Saudia Arabia after controversial audio leak
The Barcelona defenders part in securing the deal to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saoedi-Arabië has been revealed after leaked audio disclosed the star in discussion with Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales over financial details.
The leaked audio obtained by El Confidential has highlighted the part Pique’s company Kosmos played in convincing the RFEF to make the move, outlining discussions over how much would be needed to convince teams such as Real Madrid to take part abroad.
In the audio, Pique is heard to say: “If it’s about money and Real Madrid would go for €8m (£6.6m), then they get paid €8m and Barcelona get paid €8m too.
“Then the others get paid €2m (£1.7m) and €1m (£800,000).
“That’s €19m (£15.7m) and you, the federation, keep €6m (£5m). We could even push Saudi Arabia for more, saying that if not, then Real Madrid might not come.
“Rather than you hosting it in Spain, where you won’t even make €3m (£2.5m/$3.2m), think about this.”
The World Cup-winning defender has reacted angrily to the “illegal” leak of personal conversations that involve his business interests outside of playing football and insists he has nothing to apologise for.
The 35-year-old said on Twitch: “Everything we have done is legal, I’m going to expose my part in the conflict of interest, I want to show my face because I have nothing to hide. I am proud of what we do at Kosmos.
“We wanted to change the format of the competition and make it more interesting for the viewer. That has repercussions on income. The president, Luis Rubiales, really liked the idea.
“Saudi Arabia was not the only option. The United States and Qatar were on the table. Op die ou end, they decided to go to Saudi Arabia.
“The commission? In the world that we live in, it’s relatively normal. It moves between 10 en 15% and we believed that it was in line with what agencies charge for carrying out this type of management. The commission is in line with the market.
“I brought an opportunity for the RFEF. Before changing the format, they earned 120,000 euros for the competition, after the movement they earned 40 million euros.”
When asked about the leaked conversation, Pique said: “It’s an audio taken out of context. I simply help the president to find a formula that makes sense. It’s an audio taken out of context.
“I know how to separate what is a commercial agreement from what I have done all my life, which is to play football. I have never received any help. If you tell me that a sane commercial agreement will affect the competition, you have no idea who I am.
“El Confidencial called me a week ago and told me that this will come out. I told them that I don’t care. I don’t have to hide from anything.”
Hy het bygevoeg: “I don’t want to think about whether they’re going after me. It’s a malicious leak. What is news is the audio leak itself, which has been illegally leaked. Not the information in it.”
Pique is the founder and president of Kosmos Holding, a company he started with Hiroshi Mikitani, Edmund Chu, Nullah Sarker and Mike Evans in 2017.