Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, has stepped down from his position amidst a wave of criticism stemming from an incident where he kissed Spain forward Jenni Hermoso during the Women’s World Cup final presentation ceremony.
This controversial kiss, which Hermoso claimed was non-consensual, resulted in a legal complaint filed by the player. In this article, we delve into the events leading to Rubiales’ resignation and the broader implications of this controversy.
The 46-year-old Rubiales, facing mounting pressure, tendered his resignation to acting federation president Pedro Rocha. Speaking on Piers Morgan’s television show, he expressed his inability to continue his duties in the midst of the ongoing scandal. Additionally, Rubiales resigned from his position as vice-president of Uefa’s executive committee.
The fallout from the controversial kiss has gripped Spanish football in recent weeks, overshadowing Spain’s World Cup victory. Rubiales had repeatedly ignored calls for his resignation. However, a turning point came when a prosecutor filed a complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion after Jenni Hermoso testified against him. FIFA had provisionally suspended Rubiales, citing the seriousness of the allegations.
In his resignation statement, Rubiales acknowledged the futility of persisting in his role, given the ongoing investigations and public outcry. He also expressed hope that his departure would aid Spain’s joint bid with Morocco and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup. Rubiales reaffirmed his belief in the truth and his determination to defend his reputation.
**Player Boycott and Managerial Changes:**
In a show of solidarity, 81 Spain players, including the entire World Cup-winning squad, declared their refusal to represent the national team as long as Rubiales remained in office. Jorge Vilda, the World Cup-winning manager and a close associate of Rubiales, was dismissed on September 5 in connection with the scandal, with Montse Tome appointed as his successor.
The controversy drew condemnation from politicians, footballers, and celebrities alike. Protesters gathered at the federation’s headquarters, demanding Rubiales’ resignation. In his interview with Piers Morgan, Rubiales revealed that discussions with his family and close friends had played a pivotal role in his decision to step down. He emphasized the need to preserve his dignity and protect the people he cared about.