The Spanish Rugby Federation (FER) turns 100 years old


Juan Carlos Martín Sánchez,


, senior executive of the Santander Group, is the new president after the early elections due to the disqualification of the men's team from the World Cup.

His objective, the professionalization of oval sports in our country.

Where do you think Spanish rugby should be in 10 years?


Tier 1

[first international category].

At the table of World Rugby [the International Federation], with a number of licenses like the big European countries and competing at the highest level.

It does not mean that you are a world champion, it does mean that you can scare anyone, both boys and girls.

Months ago the men's team lost their place in the World Cup due to a sanction.

It was due to

the falsification of a document belonging to the player Gavin van den Berg since it was not rigorously verified


What measures are you going to take so that it does not happen again?

Apart from changing all the committees, we have put a triple layer of protection.

We have involved the clubs, the selection so that there is an audit control and an external layer with judges and people from the world of security.

Original documents from the beginning and validation throughout the process


We must remember that Alcobendas is guilty of improper alignment in Spanish competition and the regulations have been applied.

And the FER has been responsible for not putting the control measures in place to field a player internationally and, therefore, for the elimination of the World Cup.

The previous board of the FER is all out and the board of Alcobendas is all out.

It was perceived that we were in a very amateur world... Is it a challenge to bring it to the 21st century?

It is true that this has not happened only in Spain.

The norm is very ambiguous and very difficult to control.

In Spain it had happened a first time.

We were warned and another second passed, that is not understandable.

Although the regulations allow it, isn't it a certain sporting failure to base the men's team on players not born or not trained here?

Absolutely, it is the model that we have come to change.

There is no one path for the player to reach the highest level, from recruiting children to a professional league.

That Spain is at such a good relative level is a coincidence because they are using players who play in France, but it is not a consequence of the development of our rugby.

The challenge is huge...

And yet it's time, rugby is the sleeping giant.

We have methodology, facilities, the culture of sports, the climate, the show, a sufficiently large size.

World Rugby knows that the number of countries with the capacity to be Tier 1 is limited. With economic potential, geographically well positioned, with stability, security, and where rugby can be a business and have an impact.

Like Spain.

This implies that everything must be changed.

Is Santiago Santos going to continue as a men's coach throughout his presidency?


Does he know?

Yes. It is an agreed relief and

Santos is at the disposal of the FER, working with total dedication and fidelity

, even in the High Performance Plans, and available for when we decide the moment.

What names or profiles are they considering for the position?

There are many but it is not easy to find one who identifies with Spanish culture, who knows Spanish rugby, can put us on a level and also wants to come.

Is there a deadline?

In the coming weeks, we are looking with World Rugby.

However, there is no need to set deadlines if there is no easy solution.

Has the FER found evidence that Santos knew before aligning him that Van den Berg's documentation had been manipulated?

Written evidence, obviously not.

And the rest are subjective issues, it's not something I have an opinion on.

We have always separated the criminal part, which is taking its course, from the consequences for the Spanish team.

Any coach wants to bring the best players, anyone in charge would have pushed.

Santos would leave for a change of cycle, we think it is interesting to work on a different model.

We are not going to base ourselves so much on the French but on players trained in High Performance within Spain.

No team in the world plays only players from the country, not even the

All Blacks


It is one thing for them to be specific reinforcements, the same as in a club, and another for them to play with fifteen foreigners.

Do you consider the World Rugby sanction that in fact left Spain out of the World Cup fair?

I consider it logical and legal, justice is a relative issue.

As a Spaniard, I feel sorry for you and you can consider it unfair.

Did three towns go by because it was a party and they took it from me?

Well yes, maybe the sanction was excessive or it has not been applied the same way in other places, it depends on how you interpret it.

If, instead of Spain, you put Romania or Portugal and they had done this, you would say '"it's logical".

And also out of respect for the rest of the competitors.

On February 5, the men's team returns to an official competition (Spain - Netherlands, 12:45, Complutense Stadium, Madrid) and the match coincides with the League day, how to avoid these coincidences?

It is an inherited issue, we are going to consider measures for later years.

Personally, I bet on fewer teams in the Division of Honor

because we need to free up space for international competitions, franchises, events.

We also need less jump, an intermediate category between the Division of Honor B and the Division of Honor would make the path more progressive.

They changed the men's


coach shortly after the start of the season, why and why at that time?

It is a cycle change too.

Pablo Feijoo [the outgoing coach] himself has seen that it was a good time and we didn't have special pressure either.

in the world


there is less market, we have made an agreed transition model.

I think it's good that there is a rotation of coaches.

The High Performance Plans to develop talent in the youth academy have just started. How soon will we see results?

It depends on the money we are able to get.

The Plan that we have presented to World Rugby is spectacular, they have seen it like they have never seen it before.

And we ask for much more help.

In both boys and girls,


and fifteen, Spain has four teams.

If you multiply with the

emerging teams

that we want to set up, which are strategic, and the sub-20s, it means 12 teams traveling and competing.

The FER needs to double its income in the next four years, reaching 12 million.

"We want to become a great organizer of events," they have said.

What does it specify?

We are going to get money from events.

For the centenary we have already signed with

Los Pumas

[the Argentine team], who have not played with Spain for 30 years.

The idea is that every year we make events and tournaments of the highest level, and monetizable.

We are among the last candidates, fighting very seriously so that they give us the Rugby World Series at 7.

There will only be seven venues, the last one would be Madrid, where the men's and women's world champions would be decided.

It would be a radical change, it would put us in the first division, it would help us set up a structure.

150,000 spectators in three days in a football stadium, the proposal is the Cívitas Metropolitano.

What differential elements can rugby sell to sponsors?

A much more attractive return.

Since it has lower structural costs, for a low price you can get much more return.

It is a somewhat unknown sport but with a loyal following, very usable values, such as respect for the referee, the environment, the team, commitment, humility.

It is a very big sport in the world and in Spain it is a



If you place yourself at the right time, it has exponential growth rates

that you can't get on more mature sites.

With risk,


have risk, but faster.

How to attract new fans?

You have to position the product.

We are showing the League on television, even if it does not have an audience, and it will.

We are going to make an agreement with the Football League to have at least the important events in proper stadiums.

That rugby is a


to consider, not a minority sport.

In women's rugby, professionalization is still incipient, what does the FER intend to do?

At the moment, the same means as for men: modernization centers, conditions for the players when they travel, spaces and communication.

In addition to focusing on a female vice president,

we are participating with the world's top institutions to create a top-level competition for



How would you recommend rugby to parents looking for a sport for their children?

Rugby will make your child more resilient, more communicative and it is the team sport par excellence.

It requires intelligence, dedication and commitment.

It will instill some values.

I have been the father of a player and player, fear must be removed: it is not violent but hard and serious, at the same time very fun and educational.

It integrates all types of profiles, it is the sport of the future in Spain.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more