Gerard Pique denies any wrongdoing after leaked audio of Super Cup discussion emerges
'It's an audio taken out of context'
Gerard Pique has denied doing anything illegal after his company Kosmos were found to have played a significant role in moving the Spanish Super Cup to the Middle East.
The Barcelona centre-back's involvement in securing the deal to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia was revealed after leaked audio revealed the defender had been in discussion with Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales over financial details around the deal.
The leaked audio, which was obtained by El Confidencial, showed that Pique's company, Kosmos, had played a role in convincing the RFEF to move the final. It also included discussions over how much money would be required to convince teams such as Real Madrid to take part in the competition away from Spain.
Pique spoke about the financial benefits of moving the final
In the audio, Pique can be heard saying: "If it’s about money and Real Madrid would go for €8m, then they get paid €8m and Barcelona get paid €8m too.
"Then the others get paid €2m and €1m.
"That’s €19m and you, the federation, keep €6m. 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, think about this."
🚨 Gerard Piqué received in 2019 nearly €24M via his company ‘Kosmos’ for the contract signed between the Spanish Federation and Saudi Arabia for hosting the Spanish Super Cup! 🤑💰
(Source: @elconfidencial ) pic.twitter.com/ORLwnyU72P
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) April 19, 2022
The 35-year-old has reacted angrily to the "illegal" leaking of the audio, which he insists contains personal conversations that involve his business interests outside of football. He also believes he has nothing to apologise for.
"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," Pique said on Twitch.
"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. In the 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 and 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."
The Barcelona man says the audio was 'taken out of context'
When asked about the leaked conversation, the World Cup-winning defender claimed that the audio was 'taken out of context'.
He 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."
Pique - who is the founder and president of Kosmos Holding - added: "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."
The Barcelona defender founded Kosmos Holding with Hiroshi Mikitani, Edmund Chu, Nullah Sarker and Mike Evans in 2017.