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Luis Rubiales Resigns as President of Spanish Soccer Federation Amid Controversy

September 10, 2023

Photo Credit: CNN

Luis Rubiales announced his resignation from the presidency of the Spanish soccer federation on Sunday, marking the end of a tumultuous period marked by controversy surrounding an unwanted kiss he shared with Women’s World Cup winner Jennifer Hermoso.

In a statement posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), Rubiales stated, “Today, I notified the interim president, Mr. Pedro Rocha, at 9:30 pm, that I am resigning as President of RFEF. I have also relinquished my position in UEFA to allow for the appointment of a new Vice-president.”

Rubiales continued, expressing his belief that clinging to his position would not contribute positively to the Federation or Spanish football and that external forces would prevent his return. He also vowed to clear his name against what he referred to as “excessive persecution.”

“I have faith in the truth, and I will do everything in my power to ensure it prevails,” he asserted. Rubiales acknowledged the impact of the controversy on his family and loved ones, emphasizing the prevalence of truth emerging in the public eye.

The scandal began with Rubiales’ unwanted kiss on Hermoso following Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory on August 20, leading to condemnation in Spain and worldwide. The 46-year-old had previously apologized, claiming the kiss was “mutual,” a statement Hermoso refuted by stating she did not consent and was not respected.

FIFA provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days pending a disciplinary investigation, during which Pedro Rocha assumed interim presidency.

This controversy has had far-reaching implications in Spanish soccer, with the government urging Rubiales to resign and the RFEF removing World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda from his role. Vilda had been filmed inappropriately touching a female staff member during the Women’s World Cup Final. Montse Tomé, the first woman in Spanish national team history to hold the position, succeeded him.

On Friday, the Spanish national prosecutor filed a complaint against Rubiales for “sexual assault and coercion against Jennifer Hermoso” following Hermoso’s official complaint. This complaint initiates the legal process, potentially leading to a formal investigation and charges.

Public outrage over the unwanted kiss transcended various segments of Spanish society, with politicians and sports figures alike expressing their discontent. Spain’s women’s team coaches resigned collectively, and more than 80 Spanish soccer players signed a statement in support of Hermoso, asserting they would not return to the national team if the current leadership remained in place.

Credit: CNN

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