Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales has resigned amidst a protracted period of controversy, stemming from an incident where he forcibly kissed Spain's National Team captain, Jenni Hermoso, during the FIFA Women’s World Cup final presentation.
The president of the Spanish Football Federation and UEFA Vice-President has stepped down from his roles following an extended period of chaos within the Spanish football structure.
The turmoil began on one of Spanish football's most historic days when the Spanish Women’s National Team clinched victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 final on August 20 in Sydney. During the post-match presentation ceremony, the now-former Spanish FA President forcibly kissed Jenni Hermoso, the Spanish captain, on the lips.
Rubiales has since claimed his innocence, asserting that the kiss was entirely consensual, a claim refuted by Hermoso herself. The Spanish FA faced severe criticism in the wake of this incident. Some members supported Rubiales in this situation, and the federation even threatened to sue Hermoso for defamation.
Numerous Spanish footballers, both male and female, voiced their support for Hermoso and condemned Rubiales' actions, demanding strong action from the Federation.
This resignation comes just days after FIFA suspended Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities pending the completion of the investigation into the allegations against him.
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) officially announced Rubiales' resignation from his position as the head of the Spanish football association and as vice president of UEFA.
Rubiales himself shared the news of his resignation, stating that it was an effort to protect his dignity and loved ones from negativity. He expressed his determination to clear his name from what he called an "excessive persecution."
The incident in Sydney marked the culmination of an ongoing discord between the Spanish Women’s National Team players and the Spanish Football Federation. Players had raised concerns about unprofessional treatment, inadequate pay, and even instances of sexual mistreatment.
Some players had even refused to represent the national team under Jorge Vilda, the former national team coach who was dismissed shortly after winning the World Cup. Vilda, a staunch supporter of Luis Rubiales, faced allegations of unprofessional conduct towards the Women’s National Team players.