June 15, 2020 / 1:18 PM / a month ago

Casillas drops out of Spanish FA election

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Finals Draw - Romexpo, Bucharest, Romania - November 30, 2019 Iker Casillas during the draw REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas withdrew his candidacy for the role of president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Monday, saying elections take a back seat during the exceptional circumstances in the country.

Casillas’ withdrawal means incumbent Luis Rubiales, who took over from Angel Maria Villar in May 2018, is set to be re-elected unopposed in August with a four-year mandate.

In a statement, Casillas said the main reason he reconsidered his candidacy was the “exceptional social, economic and health situation that our country is suffering”.

Spain is one of the countries in Europe worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 27,000 deaths and over 260,000 confirmed cases.

"This makes the elections take a back seat," the 39-year-old Casillas said on Twitter here "I think it is time to add and not divide, because football and society need it."

Casillas, who led Spain to unprecedented success as they won Euro 2008 and 2012 plus the 2010 World Cup, announced in February that he would run for the RFEF presidency, saying he wanted to raise the standards of the national federation.

He has not closed the door on a future presidential bid, saying he hopes to be part of the next electoral process.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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