Spain’s Soccer Federation President Refuses to Resign Over Controversial Kiss, Team Halts Participation Until He Departs

by Andrew Wright
Luis Rubiales Resignation Demand

Within a week of clinching the Women’s World Cup title, members of the Spanish national team declared on Friday that they would abstain from participating in future matches unless the president of the Spanish Soccer Federation steps down. The call for resignation comes after Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the post-victory celebrations.

Despite facing intense scrutiny and pressure to step down, Rubiales remains steadfast in his decision to continue his tenure. His actions during the championship celebration in Sydney, Australia, have drawn widespread criticism.

On Friday, Hermoso released a statement vehemently opposing Rubiales’ claim that the kiss was consensual. In an emergency federation meeting held in Madrid, the 46-year-old president portrayed himself as a victim.

Rubiales repeatedly stated, “I won’t resign,” drawing applause predominantly from a male audience.

Additional Coverage

  • Union Calls for Action Against World Cup Winner Rubiales for Controversial Kiss
  • Widespread Outrage After Spain’s Soccer Chief Kisses Women’s World Cup Star
  • FIFA Initiates Investigation Against Spanish Official Over Unwanted Kiss

Earlier reports on Thursday from various Spanish media outlets had indicated that Rubiales was considering resignation. Contrarily, on Friday, he asserted that he was being unfairly targeted by “false feminists.”

While Rubiales remains resolute, Rafael del Amo, federation vice president responsible for women’s soccer, announced his resignation. He was followed by at least two other members of the federation, who also called for Rubiales to step down.

Rubiales did not lack for supporters; among those applauding him were coaches for both the men’s and women’s national teams, Jorge Vilda and Luis de la Fuente, respectively. Until the emergency meeting, Rubiales had received scant public backing, with politicians across the spectrum condemning his actions.

Rubiales claimed that Hermoso “lifted me up” and consented to “a little kiss.” Hermoso, however, contradicted this narrative through two separate statements, asserting that she neither consented to the kiss nor initiated the lift.

Further complicating matters, Hermoso accused the federation of pressuring her and her family to issue a statement in defense of Rubiales, an allegation the federation denied.

A statement by FUTPRO, signed by Hermoso, her teammates, and 58 other players, stated that they would cease to represent Spain under the current leadership. Rubiales, in turn, vowed to defend his honor in court against political figures who described his actions as sexual violence.

High-profile support for Hermoso also came from teammate Alexia Putellas, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner. Meanwhile, President of Spain’s women’s league, Beatriz Álvarez, criticized Rubiales for putting his “ego above his dignity.”

Víctor Francos, secretary of state for sports and head of Spain’s Higher Council for Sports, announced that the government would file a lawsuit against Rubiales for violating sports laws. If guilty, Rubiales could be declared unfit for office.

Protesters, largely female, gathered in front of the federation’s headquarters demanding Rubiales’ resignation. Prominent football clubs and the Spanish league president also issued statements against Rubiales. FIFA has initiated a disciplinary case, while UEFA remains silent on the matter.

Rubiales, who earned 339,000 euros after taxes in 2021 for overseeing a federation with a budget of 382 million euros, is leading Spain’s bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2030. The federation is also responsible for organizing referees for La Liga and runs Spain’s men’s and women’s national soccer teams.

Days before the controversial kiss, Rubiales had also grabbed his crotch in a victory gesture, an action for which he later apologized, describing it as a moment of “euphoria.”

Prominent figures in men’s soccer began speaking against Rubiales on Thursday, with their criticisms continuing to emerge.

For more coverage on the Women’s World Cup: AP Women’s World Cup

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Luis Rubiales Resignation Demand

What led to the Spanish Women’s Soccer Team refusing to play?

The Spanish Women’s Soccer Team has refused to play any further matches until Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s soccer federation, resigns. This comes in the wake of Rubiales kissing player Jenni Hermoso without her consent during the Women’s World Cup celebrations.

Who is Jenni Hermoso?

Jenni Hermoso is a professional soccer player who is part of the Spanish Women’s National Team. She became a focal point of controversy when Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s soccer federation, kissed her on the lips without her consent after the team’s World Cup victory.

What was Luis Rubiales’ response to the controversy?

Luis Rubiales has remained defiant amid calls for his resignation. In an emergency meeting of the soccer federation, he declared multiple times that he would not resign. He also characterized himself as a victim of a “witch hunt” by what he termed as “false feminists.”

Was there any support for Luis Rubiales within the soccer community?

Initially, Rubiales received no public support. However, during an assembly, he was applauded by an overwhelmingly male audience, which included federation vice president Rafael del Amo and women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda.

What is FIFA’s role in this situation?

FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against Luis Rubiales to determine whether he violated its code relating to “the basic rules of decent conduct” or behaved in a way that brings the sport into disrepute. There is no timetable yet for the ruling.

What are the potential legal consequences for Luis Rubiales?

Spain’s government has planned to file a lawsuit alleging that Rubiales violated the country’s sports laws. If found guilty, Rubiales could be ruled unfit to hold office.

What is the public sentiment in Spain regarding this incident?

Public sentiment is largely against Rubiales. Various political parties, both from the left and right, have spoken out against him. Additionally, about 100 people, mostly women, protested in front of the Spanish soccer federation’s headquarters calling for his resignation.

What actions have other soccer clubs and players taken?

Spanish soccer club Barcelona described Rubiales’ behavior as “completely inappropriate,” while Real Madrid supported the government’s decision to try and suspend him. Other clubs like Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao have also called for his resignation.

What did the acting Deputy Prime Minister say about the situation?

Acting Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz urged the government to take “urgent measures,” stating that “impunity for macho actions is over” and that “Rubiales cannot continue in office.”

Are any other federation members resigning?

Federation vice president Rafael del Amo, who had been in charge of women’s soccer, announced his resignation, followed by at least two other federation members. Del Amo had previously urged Rubiales to also resign.

More about Luis Rubiales Resignation Demand

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VeteranView August 26, 2023 - 12:37 am

In my years watching sports, never seen such a mess. This is more than just a game, it’s about basic respect.

NotASoccerFan August 26, 2023 - 3:55 am

I dont even follow soccer, but Rubiales needs to go. Like yesterday.

Justice4All August 26, 2023 - 5:48 am

if he’s found guilty, he needs to be out. No two ways about it.

Annie_2023 August 26, 2023 - 6:23 am

Poor Hermoso, having to deal with this after such a monumental win. Shoulda been celebrating instead.

JohnDoe47 August 26, 2023 - 6:58 am

Man, can’t believe this is happenin. Rubiales really messed up this time. Team won’t play and this guy won’t step down. what’s goin on?

FairPlay99 August 26, 2023 - 2:29 pm

I cant believe FIFA hasn’t given a timetable for the ruling. they need to act fast.

TechNerd August 26, 2023 - 6:42 pm

Using social media and players unions to speak out. Times have changed, thats for sure.

OffsideOpinion August 26, 2023 - 7:43 pm

Seems like everybody in Spain’s soccer world is up in arms, from the big clubs to the politicians. Wonder how this will unfold.

SoccerMom23 August 26, 2023 - 8:45 pm

Its high time that these actions get called out, seriously! Standing with Hermoso and the team.

PoliticsFirst August 26, 2023 - 10:21 pm

So Rubiales thinks he’s the victim here? Crazy times we’re in, honestly.


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