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Royal Spanish Football Federation

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Royal Spanish Football Federation
Short nameRFEF
Founded29 September 1913; 110 years ago (1913-09-29)
HeadquartersLas Rozas de Madrid
FIFA affiliation1914
UEFA affiliation1954
PresidentPedro Rocha

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (Spanish: Real Federación Española de Fútbol; RFEF) is the governing body of football in Spain. Founded on 29 September 1913,[1][2][3] it is based in La Ciudad del Fútbol of Las Rozas, a municipality near Madrid.

RFEF organizes the national cup competitions (Copa de S.M. el Rey and Supercopa de España) and administers the competition committee of the Campeonato Nacional de Liga (Primera División and Segunda División), including the handling of the trophy, even though they are organized by LaLiga. It organizes the rest of national league tiers: Primera Federación (3rd), Segunda Federación (4th) and Tercera Federación (5th).

It is also responsible for appointing the management of the men's, women's, and youth national football teams, the futsal and beach soccer. As of 2022, the federation has 30,052 registered clubs and 1,137,651 federated football players.[4]



The Federación Española de Clubs de Football (FECF) was established in Madrid on 14 October 1909, serving as the forerunner of the current "Royal Spanish Football Federation" (RFEF) founded four years later.[5] Some of the first clubs to join this original federation were FC Barcelona, Club Español de Madrid, Sociedad Gimnástica, the Irún Sporting Club, Fortuna de Vigo and Sporting de Vigo.[citation needed] However, other clubs did not recognize the new organization as a single national federation, including relevant entities such as Madrid FC and Athletic Club and the current national champion, Club Ciclista de San Sebastián, and this caused the 1910 Copa del Rey to have two parallel rival cup competitions: an "official", organized by the newly created FECF, in Madrid, won by Barcelona, and an "unofficial", organized by the UECF (Unión Española de Clubes de Fútbol), in San Sebastián, won by Athletic. Both are currently recognized as official by the RFEF.[6]

The discussions to decide the venue of the 1913 Copa del Rey ended up causing another split, with Barcelona and España de Barcelona announcing their departure in the assembly held in May 1912, along with the Gipuzkoan clubs of Real Sociedad and Vasconia, and on 29 November 1912, these clubs founded the "Spanish Union of Football Clubs" (UECF) in San Sebastián, and again two parallel tournaments were held.[7]

Both the Spanish Federation of Clubs (FECF) and the Spanish Union of Clubs (UECF), tried to become the representatives of Spanish football. Both organizations had a monarch as parents, them being Queen Victoria Eugenia (leading a tournament of the Union of Clubs, for which she awarded a cup) and King Alfonso XIII (honorary president of the Federation since its foundation).[8] King Alfonso XIII accepted the honorary presidency of the UECF and granted it the title of "Royal" on 22 February 1913 (the same title was granted to FECF later on 30 May 1913).[9] In March, it was reported that the Committee of FIFA did not accept the registration of the FECF due to the federative split existing in Spain, forcing both federations to merge or to create an interfederal committee similar to the one existing in France (Comité français interfédéral).[10] When it was founded, the FECF joined the UIAFA, but at that point that governing body had disappeared, so it was urgent and necessary to join another international federation.[11] Madrid FC was a founder of FIFA in 1904, but after that it did not take part in any congress or meeting and it lost its membership, so there was no Spanish representative affiliated with FIFA between 1905 and 1913.[5]

The RUECF try to gain recognition by holding an international match against a Ligue de Football Association team (LFA was part of the French CFI, which was a member of FIFA), held on 25 May 1913 at the Amute in Hondarribia. José Berraondo performed the functions of the Spanish coach and refereed the match. The game ended in a 1–1 draw with Spain's goalscorer being the captain Juan Arzuaga.[12] According press, after that match Alfonso XIII called Juan Padrós, president of the FECF, to inquire about what is happening and ask him to find a solution to the existing problem, and also Daniel Burley Woolfall, president of FIFA, contacted Carlos Padrós, former president of Madrid FC, to ask him about these new federations.[8]

The FIFA Congress in Copenhagen held on 31 May 1913 rejected the entry of Spanish football, by not accepting the coexistence of two federations, which means that Spanish clubs cannot play international matches with FIFA member clubs.[13] Also at the end of May, the FECF organized an Assembly and Juan Padrós resigned. A new board of directors was then created and Ricardo Ruiz de Ferry (sports journalist) was elected president, with General Adolfo Meléndez and Antonio Bernabéu, as vice president and secretary, respectively.[14][15][16] In July, the RUECF sent a letter signed by its secretary Julián Olave to RFECF proposing to reach a merger agreement between the two federations.[17][18][19] Ruiz Ferry went to San Sebastian at the end of July to meet with the representatives of the RUECF and negotiate a definitive agreement with them.[20] An agreement was reached to merge both federations and provisionally constitute four regional federations (east, west, north and center), whose delegates would attend the constitutive assembly of a new entity on 1 September 1913 at the headquarters of the Real Aero Club de España, in Madrid.[19][21][22]


On 1 September 1913, the constitutive assembly of a new federation began as planned, choosing the name "Royal Spanish Football Federation" (Real Federación Española de Football) and granting the honorary presidency to King Alfonso XIII.[19][23][24] During this assembly it was recorded in the minutes that it was the constitutive assembly of a new federation completely different from the RFECF and the RUECF.[1][23][25][26] In addition, a board of directors was appointed under the vice-presidency of Ruiz Ferry, with the authority to designate its president, in accordance with the honorary president.[23][27] This board of directors took office on September 18.[28] Alfonso XIII officially granted the title of "Royal" to the RFEF on 25 September 1913[9] and accepted the honorary presidency.[29][30] Historically, it has been considered the RFEF was officially established on 29 September 1913,[2][3][31][32] although other sources place the date of foundation at 1 September 1913, when the first session of the constitutive assembly was held.[1][9][19] Also on 29 September 1913, the RFEF was accepted as a provisional member of FIFA, formalizing the federation's full entry into FIFA at the assembly held in Oslo on 27 July 1914.[8] The RFEF presented its statutes for approval and registration in the Associations Register on 16 January 1914. However, as was usual at that time, the process was delayed and the approval was not effective until 16 September 1921.[33] The appointment of Francisco García Molinas as president of the RFEF was reported in January 1914.[34][35] Lastly, the RFECF was dissolved on 18 October 1913[1][36] and the RUECF disappeared[37] on 5 February 1914.[11]

In order to put an end to the disputes that had marked the last editions of the Copa del Rey, it was agreed, among other measures, to form a championship for each regional federation (the country was divided into ten regions), which would serve as the qualifying stages for the tournament. The 1914 Copa del Rey was the first edition of the competition to be organized by the RFEF, and Athletic Club were the winners after beating FC Espanya 2–1 in the final. After their foundation in September 1913, one of the first initiatives taken by the Royal Spanish Football Federation was to promote an inter-regional championship that would serve as the first major "showcase" of Spanish football, and consequently, as the bases for the formation of a Spanish team that could compete with other international teams;[38] and thus, in 1915, they launched the Prince of Asturias Cup, which was sponsored by King Alfonso XIII, who donated the trophy which his son, Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, had to deliver, hence the name of the tournament.[39]

National team[edit]

On 21 May 1920, the General Assembly of the RFEF approved the creation of the national team to participate in the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games. A committee of selectors made up of Paco Bru (representing the Catalonia region), José Angel Berraondo (from the North region) and Julián Ruete (from the Center region) was appointed, although the latter two ultimately resigned for personal reasons, and Luis Argüello (Treasurer of the Federation) joined the expedition.[40]

On 28 August 1920, the first official match of the Spanish national team was played, held at the La Butte stadium (now Joseph Marien Stadium) in Brussels, in front of some 3,000 spectators. Spain wore a red shirt, white shorts, black socks and an embroidered lion on the chest. The match ended with a 1–0 victory against Denmark, with a goal from Gipuzkoan Patricio Arabolaza in the 54th minute.[41] In their maiden international tournament, Spain returned from Belgian lands with the silver medal after beating the Netherlands in the decisive match.

After the victory in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, along with the 2010 FIFA World Cup title by the men's side, Spain became one of the two countries (with Germany), to win both men and women world championships.[42] Besides, together with their youth teams, Spain became the current world champion in all three female categories (U-17, U-20 and senior level), unprecedented in the women's game.[43]

National league[edit]

On 30 June 1926, after a long process, the clubs approved the first professional football regulations, thus, following the English model, the sport of football become professional in Spain. This would lay the foundation for the founding of the "Campeonato Nacional de Liga" (La Liga), in 1929.

The first league edition ran from February to June 1929, and was played by ten clubs. Six clubs were selected for being Copa del Rey winners (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Arenas Club, Real Unión and Real Sociedad —as the successor club of the Club Ciclista), another three as runners-up (Atlético Madrid, RCD Espanyol and CE Europa), and to decide the tenth place, an eliminatory tournament between ten clubs was organized, which Racing de Santander won after beating Sevilla in the decisive match.[44] Barcelona was proclaimed champion of the first league edition with 25 points, closely followed by Real Madrid at 23.[45]


RFEF national competitions:


National football team[edit]


  • Winners (1): 2010
  • Fourth place (1): 1950
  • Runners-up (1): 2013
  • Third place (1): 2009


  • Semi-finals (1): 1997

National youth teams[edit]



National futsal team[edit]




The RFEF consists of 19 regional and territorial federations, comprising the different Autonomous communities and cities in Spain.


President Term
Francisco García 1913–1916
Gabriel Maura 1916–1920
David Ormaechea 1921–1923
Gabriel Maura 1923–1924
Julián Olave 1924–1926
Antonio Bernabéu 1926–1927
Pedro Díez de Rivera (Marqués de Someruelos) 1927–1931
Leopoldo García 1931–1936
Julián Troncoso 1939–1940
Luis Saura 1940–1941
Javier Barroso 1941–1946
Jesús Rivero 1946–1947
Armando Muñoz Calero 1947–1950
Manuel Valdés 1950–1952
Sancho Dávila 1952–1954
Juan Touzón 1954–1956
Alfonso de la Fuente 1956–1960
Benito Pico 1960–1967
José Luis Costa 1967–1970
José Luis Pérez-Payá 1970–1975
Pablo Porta 1975–1984
José Luis Roca 1984–1988
Ángel María Villar 1988–2017
Juan Luis Larrea (interim) 2017–2018
Luis Rubiales 2018–2023
Pedro Rocha (interim) 2023–2024
Pedro Rocha 2024–present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Juan Ignacio Gallardo; Víctor Martínez Patón (1 December 2009). "Origen y fundación de la RFEF" [Origin and foundation of the RFEF]. Cuadernos de Fútbol. No. 5. ISSN 1989-6379.
  2. ^ a b "Villar borra la fecha de nacimiento de la RFEF" [Villar deletes the date of foundation of RFEF]. Marca (in Spanish). 9 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b Real Federación Española de Fútbol. Anuario 1926–1927 [Yearbook 1926–1927] (in Spanish). p. 10. España. Real Federación Española de Football (29 Sept. 1913)
  4. ^ "Yearbook of Sports Statistics 2023" (PDF). www.culturaydeporte.gob.es. Ministry of Culture and Sport. May 2023. pp. 121–13.
  5. ^ a b IFFHS. "Todos los campeonatos nacionales del mundo, sus equipos campeones y sus mejores goleadores 1901–10: Explicación, bases y comentarios" [All the world national championships, their champion teams and their best scorers 1901–10: Explanation, regulations and comments] (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  6. ^ "Spain – Cups 1910". RSSSF. 13 January 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Spain – Cups 1913". RSSSF. 13 January 2000. Archived from the original on 8 April 2022. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  8. ^ a b c Félix Martialay (January 2000). ¡Amberes! Allí nació la furia española (in Spanish). Real Federación Española de Fútbol. pp. 76–84. ISBN 9788492109777.
  9. ^ a b c Fernando Arrechea; Víctor Martínez Patón (1 October 2013). "Las reales federaciones españolas de fútbol" [The Royal Spanish federations]. Cuadernos de Fútbol. No. 47. ISSN 1989-6379.
  10. ^ "La Real Unión y la Federación en relación con la F.I.F.A." [The Royal Union and the Federation in relation with FIFA] (PDF). Vida Sportiva (in Spanish). No. 29. 15 March 1913. pp. 3–5.
  11. ^ a b Vicent Masià (June 2011). "La Federación Española de Fútbol (I)" [The Spanish Football Federation (I)]. La Futbolteca. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  12. ^ "El primer partido de la Selección Española de Fútbol" [The first game of the Spanish Soccer Team]. Cuadernos de Fútbol (in Spanish). 14 February 2021. ISSN 1989-6379. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  13. ^ "La Federación Internacional y las agrupaciones españolas" [The International Federation and the Spanish associations] (PDF). Vida Sportiva (in Spanish). No. 35. 15 June 1913. p. 3.
  14. ^ "Futbolerías. La asamblea de este año" [Football notes. The Assembly of this year]. Heraldo de Madrid (in Spanish). Vol. 8, no. 219. 2 June 1913. p. 4.
  15. ^ "Plana deportiva. L'armonia en la F.E.C.F. – En Ruiz Ferry president!" [Sports section. Harmony in the F.E.C.F. – Ruiz Ferry as president!]. El Poble català (in Spanish and Catalan). Vol. 3, no. 5. 5 June 1913. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Asamblea de la Federación" [Assembly of the Federation] (PDF). Vida Sportiva (in Spanish). No. 35. 15 June 1913. p. 6.
  17. ^ "Foot-ball. Allá y aquí" ["Football. There and here] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). No. 394. 31 July 1913. p. 1.
  18. ^ "La paz footballística" [The footballistic peace] (PDF). Vida Sportiva (in Spanish). No. 37. 25 August 1913. pp. 4–5.
  19. ^ a b c d Víctor Martínez Patón (1 September 2013). "Las siete federaciones españolas de fútbol (III)" [The seven Spanish football federations (III)]. Cuadernos de Fútbol (in Spanish). No. 46. ISSN 1989-6379.
  20. ^ "La Semana Deportiva. Notas de la semana. Balompié" [The sports week. News of the week. Football] (PDF). El Pueblo Vasco (in Spanish). Vol. 3, no. 722. 31 July 1913. p. 4.
  21. ^ "Se firmó la paz" [Peace was signed] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). No. 395. 7 August 1913. p. 3.
  22. ^ "Acta" [Minutes] (PDF). Vida Sportiva (in Spanish). No. 37. 25 August 1913. pp. 5–6.
  23. ^ a b c "Futbol. Asamblea constitutiva de la R.F.E.F." [Football. Constitutive assembly of the R.F.E.F.]. Heraldo de Madrid (in Spanish). Vol. 8, no. 317. 8 September 1913. p. 4.
  24. ^ "La Real Federación Española de Foot-ball" [The Royal Spanish Football Federation] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). No. 400. 11 September 1913. p. 4.
  25. ^ "Real Federación Española de Foot-ball. (Continuación)" [Royal Spanish Federation (continuation)] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). No. 401. 18 September 1913. p. 3.
  26. ^ Juan Ignacio Gallardo (11 November 2009). "En 1913 nació "una nueva Federación completamente distinta"" [In 1913 was born "a new Federation completely different"]. Marca (in Spanish).
  27. ^ "Real Federación Española de Foot-ball" [Royal Spanish Football Federation] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). No. 403. 2 October 1913. p. 2.
  28. ^ "Futbol. Comité directivo" [Football. Board of directors]. Heraldo de Madrid (in Spanish). Vol. 8, no. 331. 22 September 1913. p. 4.
  29. ^ "Futbol" [Football]. Heraldo de Madrid (in Spanish). Vol. 8, no. 338. 29 September 1913. p. 5.
  30. ^ "De Sport" [Sports]. El Globo (in Spanish). Vol. 13, no. 113. 14 October 1913. p. 3.
  31. ^ Federación Española de Fútbol. Anuario 1936 [Yearbook 1936] (in Spanish). p. 183. España. Federación Española de Football (29 Septiembre 1913)
  32. ^ "La FIFA se reunirá en Madrid a finales de mes" [FIFA is meeting in Madrid at the end of the month]. El Correo Gallego (in Spanish). Vol. 24, no. 619. 18 March 1951. p. 4.
  33. ^ Fernando Arrechea (17 October 2019). "El complejo proceso de constitución de la Real Federación Española de Fútbol" [The complex process of constitution of the Royal Spanish Football Federation]. Cuadernos de Fútbol (in Spanish). No. 114. ISSN 1989-6379.
  34. ^ "Futbolerías" [Football notes]. Heraldo de Madrid (in Spanish). Vol. 8, no. 450. 19 January 1914. p. 4.
  35. ^ "De Sport" [Sports]. La Gaceta de Tenerife (in Spanish). Vol. 1, no. 337. 20 January 1914. p. 1.
  36. ^ "La Federación de 1909 quedó disuelta al mes de nacer la nueva RFEF" [The Federation of 1909 was dissolved a month after the birth of the new RFEF]. Marca (in Spanish). 11 November 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  37. ^ "Real Unión Española de Clubs de Football" [Royal Spanish Union of Football Clubs] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). No. 427. 19 March 1914. p. 4.
  38. ^ Vicente Martínez Calatrava (17 August 2009). "La Copa Príncipe de Asturias" [The Prince of Asturias Cup] (in Spanish). CIHEFE. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  39. ^ "Spain – Copa Príncipe de Asturias/Campeonato Interregional". RSSSF. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  40. ^ "Ante las Olimpiadas" [Before the Olympics] (in Spanish). MundoDeportivo. 29 July 1920. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  41. ^ "Denmark vs Spain, 28 August 1920". Eu-football.com. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  42. ^ Jopson, Barney; Agini, Samuel (2023-08-20). "Spain beat England 1–0 to become Women's World Cup champions". Financial Times. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  43. ^ "How Spain became the holders of all three Women's World Cups". FIFA. 20 August 2023. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  44. ^ "1929: El Racing de Santander, verdugo del Sevilla, por dos veces" [1929: Racing de Santander, executioner of Sevilla, twice]. www.cihefe.es (in Spanish). 1 March 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  45. ^ "History of the Spanish League: The first years (1929–1936)". www.rfef.es. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2022.

External links[edit]