The President of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, has tendered his resignation amidst a firestorm of controversy following a widely criticized incident at the Women’s World Cup victory ceremony.
The scandal erupted when Rubiales forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony that followed Spain’s World Cup triumph in Sydney on August 20, 2023.
FIFA had already provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days for his actions, while Spanish public prosecutors filed a lawsuit against him for alleged sexual assault and coercion in response to a complaint filed by Hermoso herself.
Despite initially refusing to step down, Rubiales had come under immense pressure, and the situation had escalated in recent weeks.
His mother, Angeles Bejar, even embarked on a hunger strike in protest, locking herself in a church.
In his official statement, Rubiales clarified that he was also stepping down from his role as a vice-president of UEFA. He maintained that the kiss had been consensual and expressed his faith in the truth prevailing.
“After the swift suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of the procedures opened against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position,” said Rubiales in the letter.
However he, “Insisted on waiting and clinging to it is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither for the federation nor for Spanish football.
“Among other things, because there are powers that be that will prevent my return.”
Rubiales’s departure is seen as a move to bring stability to Spain’s involvement in the 2030 men’s World Cup bid.
He stressed his desire to protect Spanish football from further harm in the face of what he called a “disproportionate campaign” against him.
This scandal had significant repercussions, leading to over 80 players from the women’s team going on strike in protest after Rubiales’s defensive speech, where he criticized “false feminism” and vowed not to step down.
Women’s coach Jorge Vilda was sacked in the aftermath of the controversy, with Montserrat Tome becoming the new coach — marking the first time a woman has led the team.
Don’t miss out on: Kiss Scandal – Spanish Football Federation Ask Rubiales to Step Down
Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero also voiced support for Jenni Hermoso, writing, “We are with you, Jenni, and with all women,” while emphasizing that Rubiales’s downfall marks an important moment for gender equality.