First Luis Rubiales defended his abusive behavior with conviction, he attacked his critics head-on for “false feminism” – and then slipped into the victim role. “I will not resign,” the head of the Spanish association yelled five times in a bizarre angry speech at all those who had demanded his resignation after the kiss scandal at the World Cup final.
The pressure that players, associations and even the highest Spanish government circles had put on him this week was ultimately only an attempt at a “public execution”. The 46-year-old made it clear that he wanted to fight to the end after suddenly kissing national player Jennifer Hermoso on the mouth at the award ceremony after the final against England (1-0) five days earlier.
“Rubiales must not remain in office”
At the extraordinary general assembly of the Spanish football association RFEF in Madrid, there was applause and standing ovations in the hall, Rubiales threw kisses into the audience – and put his behavior into perspective. It was “a spontaneous, mutual and consensual kiss,” said the head of the association, referring to the scene with Hermoso (33), who had called for consequences against Rubiales the day before.
The outraged reactions followed promptly. Yolanda Diaz, Spain’s second vice prime minister, called for the government to act urgently: “Impunity for macho actions is over,” she wrote at X: “Rubiales must not remain in office.” League boss Javier Tebas said: “The List of women and men insulted by Luis Rubiales in recent years is too long, this has to stop.”
In turn, he complained about “false feminism”. There are people “preparing an execution” to “put on a medal and say they’re making progress,” he said, provocatively asking, “For heaven’s sake, what will the women who have actually been sexually abused think? “He doesn’t deserve the “hunt” he’s been suffering since taking office in 2018.
FIFA has also been dealing with the case since Thursday. The world association opened disciplinary proceedings and is examining a possible violation of Article 13 of its own regulations. Rubiales also sits on the UEFA Executive Committee, but the European Football Union has so far remained silent.
Published/Updated: Recommendations: 9 A comment by Hans-Günter Kellner, Madrid Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 51 Hans-Günter Kellner, Madrid Published/Updated: Recommendations: 21 A comment by Stefanie Sippel Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 35
After the incident in Sydney, Hermoso said in an Instagram live stream that she “didn’t like” the action. The association later published a statement with qualifying quotes from her, according to reports she was urged to make the statements. During the week, however, Hermoso defended himself in a statement with the players’ union Futpro.
Especially since the kissing scene wasn’t the only incriminating incident. The functionary even grabbed his crotch on the VIP stand just a few meters away from Spain’s Queen Letizia, cheering uninhibitedly. For this, Rubiales apologized: “I was so emotional that I lost control and put my hands there.”
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It was also unclear before the meeting how things would continue with Jorge Vilda. The prehistory on the way to the World Cup title is not forgotten in Spain, 15 players protested against the management style of the national coach last autumn. Rubiales, however, supported Vilda – and even promised him a contract extension with a salary increase.