Amidst a media storm and when all the Spanish press unanimously said he was about to resign, Luis Rubiales announced on Friday his refusal to resign from his position as president of the Spanish Football Federation. He even accused his critics, including Spanish Minister of Labor Yolanda Díaz, of false feminism.
The entire Iberian press already saw him on the chopping block. The boss of Spanish football, Luis Rubiales, took everyone by surprise on Friday, August 25, by announcing his refusal to resign following the controversy surrounding a forced kiss on a player’s cheek during Spain’s recent Women’s World Cup victory.
In a half-hour speech at the opening of an extraordinary general assembly of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) convened to address this controversy, Luis Rubiales began by offering his “apologies,” especially to Queen Letizia, but described himself as a victim of a “social assassination attempt.”
“Spontaneous, mutual, and consensual”
Luis Rubiales justified himself by stating that the kiss on the mouth that he had given to Jenni Hermoso – a player on the Spanish national team who had just won the World Cup – was “spontaneous, mutual, and consensual.”
“I will not resign! I will not resign!” he declared to several dozen delegates of the RFEF.
Luis Rubiales, who turned 46 this week, also criticized “false feminism” that “does not seek the truth.” He specifically attacked three women members of the government, including the communist Minister of Labor and the government’s number three, Yolanda Díaz, who had been one of the first to demand his resignation.
The vice president of the government described the speech of the boss of Spanish football as “unacceptable.”
According to all Spanish media outlets, Luis Rubiales had informed his team on Thursday that he would resign from his position as president of the Federation at this general assembly. When contacted by AFP, the football Federation did not confirm this information and did not comment.
Under Spanish law, a non-consensual kiss is considered a crime of sexual assault. The player, Jennifer Hermoso, said during a live broadcast on Instagram upon her return to the locker room, “I didn’t like it, okay!”
In the face of the initial outraged reactions, the Spanish Federation released statements from Jennifer Hermoso stating that it was “a completely spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy that winning the World Cup brings.”
Meanwhile, the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, declared on Friday that Luis Rubiales had “offended” too many people and suggested that he should resign shortly after the resounding announcement of his continued tenure as head of the Spanish Federation, despite his gesture.
“The list of women and men offended in recent years by Luis Rubiales is too long, this must stop,” wrote Javier Tebas on X (formerly Twitter).
Meanwhile, PSG coach Luis Enrique, former coach of Spain (2018 and then 2019-2022), praised Luis Rubiales’ “exceptional work” as head of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), without commenting on the scandal of the chairman’s forced kiss.
“There have been very good performances, the numbers speak for themselves. As for the last episode, the president has acknowledged his mistakes and my opinion is not necessarily needed on this subject,” said Luis Enrique, 53.
The case could go to court, as Victor Francos, the president of the Superior Council for Sports, a government body, had promised that the Council would take action if the RFEF did not. He had indicated that he would bring the matter before the Sports Administrative Tribunal, a Spanish jurisdiction. He announced that he would hold a press conference on Friday at 5 pm (3 pm GMT).
Furthermore, the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office informed AFP that it had received four complaints against Luis Rubiales, but since these were not filed by the victims themselves, there is doubt about their admissibility. AFP