The president of the embattled Spanish FA insisted on Friday that a kiss on the lips with women’s footballer Jeanne Hermoso was consensual before adamantly refusing to resign, a claim Hermoso strenuously denied.
Meanwhile, all 22 of Hermoso’s fellow world champions and 58 other Spanish players have announced they will no longer play for Spain unless Luis Rubiales resigns.
Facing the possibility of impeachment, Rubiales, 46, posed as a victim at an emergency FA meeting in Madrid.
“I’m not going to resign,” he declared four times in a row, to applause from the predominantly male audience.
Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales, left, stands next to Spain coach Jorge Verda after winning the World Cup at Palazzo Ramóncloja in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. Shortly after Spain won the Women’s World Cup, the president of the country’s National Football Association deflected unwanted attention from cheering players. Luis Rubiales was criticized by the Spanish government and football circles for his inappropriate behavior as he celebrated Spain’s 1-0 win over England in the final in Sydney, Australia, on Monday.
Rubiales, who was also penalized for trembling in Spain’s 1-0 win over England on Sunday, is under intense pressure to resign.
The kiss marred the title celebrations in front of a worldwide audience and criticism mounted. Spain’s acting prime minister, the players’ union, Spain’s women’s players and even some of the men’s team said he had to go.
Several Spanish news outlets reported on Thursday that Rubiales would resign. Instead, he said Friday he was the victim of a “fake feminist” witch hunt.
As Rubiales stood his ground, Rafael del Amo, the federation’s vice-president who had been in charge of women’s football, announced his resignation, followed by at least two other federation members. Del Amo also called for Rubiales’ resignation.
Applauding for Rubiales included women’s national team coach Jorge Verda and men’s national team coach Luis de la Fuente. As of Friday’s rally, he had yet to gain public support in Spain, with parties on both the left and right openly opposing him.
Rubiales said in a speech to the congregation that Hermoso “took me in his arms” in a solemn gesture and asked her to “give me a little kiss.” She “said yes”.
“It’s the same kiss I gave one of my daughters,” Rubiales said.
Rubiales’ initial congratulations to Hermoso were missing from the televised award ceremony. But it shows that before he cups her face and kisses her, his feet are on the ground.