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Luis Rubiales resigns as president of Spanish Football Federation three weeks after kissing Hermoso on the lips

Luis Rubiales has announced his resignation as president of the Spanish Football Federation following heavy criticism after he kissed Spain forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the FIFA Women’s World Cup final medal ceremony.

The 46-year-old has however insisted he will do everything in his power to ensure that “truth prevails”. Around two weeks ago he claimed the kiss, which happened after Spain beat England 1-0 in Sydney, was “spontaneous, mutual and consented” at an extraordinary assembly of the Spanish football federation. But Hermoso, Spain Women’s all-time top scorer has maintained it was not consensual. Last Tuesday the 33-year-old filed a legal complaint against Rubiales.

On Sunday, exactly three weeks since his “inappropriate behaviour” cast a shadow over Spain’s World Cup celebrations, Rubiales told Piers Morgan on his television show: “I cannot continue my work.”


Then he released the following statement on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter:

“I have handed in my resignation to the acting president, Pedro Rocha. I have also informed him that I have done the same with my position at UEFA, so that a replacement for my role as vice president can be sought.”

The kiss controversy engulfed Spanish football. Players, politicians, protesters and many others spoke out against Rubiales’ behaviour as the issue raised questions about sexism in sport. But Rubiales vehemently ignored increasing calls for his resignation. His actions, which include grabbing his crotch at the final whistle, led to him being provisionally suspended by FIFA from all football-related activity for 90 days, while the Disciplinary Committee of the world football governing body investigates.


“After the suspension by FIFA, in addition to the rest of the proceedings against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position.

“To insist on waiting for an outcome and clinging on to my position will not contribute to anything positive — neither for the RFEF nor Spanish football. There are powers that be that will prevent my return. I do not want Spanish football to be harmed by this disproportionate campaign against me.”

Later on Sunday, the RFEF confirmed Rubiales’ resignation in a statement.


In recent weeks, the Spanish government tried to intervene and suspend him from his position. However, Spain’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAD) classified Rubiales offenses as “serious”, rejecting the government’s argument that they were “very serious”. Hence the government was unable to step in.

Rubiales has however continued to defend his version of events. In the interview with Piers Morgan on Sunday he said he finally made the decision to resign following talks with family and friends, whom he quoted as saying: “Luis, you have to focus on your dignity and continue your life. (Otherwise) you will probably be hurting more people you love and the sport you love.”


In his statement, he added: “I am taking this decision after having made sure that my departure will contribute to the stability that will allow both Europe and Africa to remain united in the dream of [co-hosting the World Cup in] 2030.

“I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power to make sure it prevails,” he said.

“My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of unconscionable persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that on the street, every day more and more, the truth is prevailing.”


Meanwhile, three days after Hermoso’s criminal complaint last Tuesday, a prosecutor filed a case with Spain’s high court against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion.

Hermoso and 80 other Spain players, including all the World Cup winners, vowed not to play for the national team again while Rubiales was still in charge.

Jorge Vilda, the World Cup-winning coach and a close ally of Rubiales, was fired by the RFEF on September 5, with Montse Tome named as his successor.

Credit: AIPS Media

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