Spain football chief refuses to step down after World Cup kiss scandal

The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, said he would not resign on Friday despite kissing soccer player Jenni Hermoso after the team’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final sparking widespread condemnation in Spain and beyond.

Rubiales kissed striker Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony after Spain had won the final of the Women’s World Cup against England on Sunday.

“Do you think that it is so serious for this ‘hunt’, do you think that I have to resign? Well, I’m not going to resign,” Rubiales said at Friday’s RFEF General Assembly.

“I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign,” the soccer chief insisted.

Rubiales justified the kiss he gave Hermoso, which he described as “spontaneous, mutual and consensual”, and said “false feminism” was “trying to kill” him.

“(The kiss) was consensual, the player missed a penalty and I have a great relationship with all the players. We have been a family for more than a month and we had affectionate moments during the tournament,” he added.

According to Rubiales, he asked Hermoso if he could give her a peck and she agreed.

The RFEF president compared his kiss with the player to one he might share with his daughter, “there was no (sexual) desire, and there was no dominance,” he insisted.

Rubiales went on to accuse the media and “false feminism” of seeking his “social murder”.

“False feminism doesn’t seek justice, they don’t seek the truth. It seeks to portray itself as moving us forward. They do not care about people,” he said.

“They have gone after me with everything (…) There are more than a hundred lawsuits, complaints in all kinds of courts, requests always from the same people and their puppets in the CSD (National Sports Council).”

Rubiales openly criticized ministers Yolanda Diaz, Irene Montero and Ione Belarra as well as Podemos spokesperson Pablo Echenique for trying to “assassinate him” publicly, and announced he would be taking action against them.

“What will women who have actually been sexually assaulted think? I am going to defend myself in court. I am going to take action against the people who are trying to assassinate me publicly,” he said.

Rubiales adopted a more conciliatory tone when addressing his behavior in the box during the final when he was caught on camera grabbing his genitals.

He said he lamented the gesture which was directed at coach Jorge Vidal whose contract was renovated and who received a salary hike to 500.000 euros announced at Friday’s general meeting.

“I want to apologize for an event that took place in the box when, during a moment of euphoria, I grabbed that part of my body. Jorge and I have been through a lot this year, and on a smaller level they have wanted to inflict the same on you,” Rubiales told Vidal.

“We have suffered and put up with a lot but we have stuck together,” he added.

Rubiales went on to apologize to Queen Letizia of Spain and her daughter who were also in the box saying he had never behaved like that but that emotions were running high.

FIFA’S Disciplinary Committee on Thursday announced it had opened proceedings against Rubiales on the grounds that his actions “may constitute violations of article 13 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.”

Hermoso issued a joint statement with players’ union FUTPRO on Wednesday calling for action to be taken against Rubiales and saying that actions like this should not go unpunished. EFE

By Dr Muhammad Hussain