Luis Rubiales: Spain’s RFEF president refuses to resign after heavy criticism for unwanted kiss on Jennifer Hermoso.



CNN

Spanish football president Luis Rubiales has refused to step down as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after a video showed him giving a unwanted kiss to the star player of Spain’s Women’s World Cup winning team.

“I will fight until the end,” said Rubiales, speaking at the federation’s extraordinary general assembly on Friday.

In an ironic speech, he described The kiss is “reciprocal” and He spoke of “unfair” campaigns and “fake feminism” and repeatedly asserted that “I will not resign” during the nearly 30-minute speech.

Rubiales, 46, was filmed forcefully kissing Spanish star Jennifer Hermozo. Red Lips after she received her winners’ medal – her first Women’s World Cup title in Sydney on Sunday – the 33-year-old World Cup winner later said she “didn’t like it” and “didn’t expect it”. .”

While Rubiales was applauded by many in the audience at the assembly, his comments on Friday drew further criticism, particularly from some members of the Spanish football community, including Hermoso’s international teammate and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Butellas. That was his speech “Unacceptable.”

Spain international and Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias said He will not play for the national team until “things change”, while Yolanda Díaz, Spain’s second deputy prime minister, called on Rubiales to “resign now”.

“Mr. Rubiales still does not know where he is or what he has done,” Diaz wrote X, Formerly known as Twitter. “He is not fit for it. He should resign now and save us the embarrassment,” he added.

On Monday, Rubiales admitted he had “made a mistake”, but criticism continued to pour in throughout the week from the football world and Spanish politicians, including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. “Not enough.”

Following Rubiales’ comments on Friday, Spain’s High Sports Council (CSD) president Víctor Francos said the council would look to quickly suspend Rubiales following the proper process.

“Government starts the processes today, so Mr. Rubiales has to explain to the TAD (Court of Arbitration for Sport) and if the TAD sees it well and the CSD is in a position to do so, we are announcing, I am announcing today that we will suspend Mr. Rubiales from the post of President of the RFEF, ” said Francois, adding that he believes “we are in a position to call it the ‘Me Too’ of Spanish football”.

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The CSD is an autonomous decision-making body of the Spanish government’s Ministry of Culture and Sports and has the power to demand Rubiales’ removal. A case against him and a trial in ICourt.

The process of suspending Rubiales may seem to the public like the government is dragging their feet, but Francos admitted that it is a “complicated process, and I will not lie to anyone.”

He added that the events in Sydney “can never happen again and … as the person responsible for the Spanish game, I apologize to the players because they were ineligible this week.”

The bewildered president issued a firm defense of his actions on Friday: “Everybody there — some of my family, even my daughters — the desire that might have been in that kiss was like giving a kiss. To one of my daughters. No more, no less.”

“It was a spontaneous kiss … it was spontaneous, mutual, happy and consensual, and that’s the key. That’s the key to all the criticisms of all the propaganda that’s been raised in this country: It wasn’t consensual. No. It was consensual.”

Rubiales said he was “not in a dominant position” during the kiss and wanted to console Hermoso, who missed a penalty to give Spain a 2-0 lead in the final.

“When Jenny first appeared, she lifted me off the floor. She grabbed me by the waist and by the legs, I don’t remember very well,” he said. “She lifted me off the floor – we almost fell down.

“When she put me on the ground, we hugged each other. She just picked me up in her arms and pulled me to her body. We hugged and I told her, ‘Forget the penalty. You were amazing, we wouldn’t have won this World Cup without you.’ She replied, ‘You’re great. I said, ‘A little peck?’ She said, ‘Okay’.

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Rubiales spoke at the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Spanish Football Federation.

“And then during this celebration she tapped me in the side a few times, and then excused herself with another hand on the side and went away smiling. That was the whole sequence. The whole world understood, the whole world thought it was a story, after all, she told it, and more than that. nothing.

CNN has reached out to Spain’s Professional Footballers’ Association (FUTPRO) and the RFEF for comment.

On Wednesday, following heavy criticism of Rubiales’ kiss from journalists, politicians and campaign groups, Hermoso said FUTPRO and his company TMJ would “protect my interests and act as spokespersons in this matter”.

Later on Thursday, world governing body FIFA said it had initiated disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales because he may have breached the game’s “fundamental rules of decent behaviour”.

Rubiales has described calls for his resignation as a “witch hunt” while acknowledging that he should apologize for his actions.

“…the thing with the kiss, I said it was free, mutual, it was consensual, but obviously, I still have to apologize for the circumstances in which it happened. I don’t live outside the world, and I know I made a mistake in this,” he said. “But do we think it’s worth the witch hunt I’m suffering? Do you really believe that?

“Another thing is that someone has to say publicly, but do you think it deserves this hunt? So asking for my resignation? Is it too serious that I have to leave the best leadership in the history of Spanish football?

“Do you think I should resign? Well, I’m going to tell you something: I’m not going to quit! I’m not going to quit! I will not resign! I’m not going to quit! I’m not going to resign!”

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‘Totally unacceptable and damaging news’

In response to Rubiales’ speech, global players’ union FIFPRO said it would again call for “immediate disciplinary action”.

“We welcome FIFA’s decision to open an ethics case and the steps taken at national level in Spain. Also, we have written to UEFA – Mr. Rubiales as vice-chairman – We request that disciplinary proceedings be initiated,” it said. Report.

“The failure of the authorities to take any action to address Mr Rubiales’ conduct will send a completely unacceptable and damaging message to the football industry and wider society.”

A report, FC Barcelona said Rubiales’ behavior during the World Cup celebrations was “totally inappropriate” and “inappropriate”.

“In light of her unjustifiable incident, FC Barcelona is committed to the principle of supporting women’s sport, guaranteeing equality between men and women in sport and society in general, and the safety of women in sport and condemning any behavior that violates our principles and laws,” the club said on Friday.

In a controversial speech, Rubiales offered a staunch defense of his actions.

Striker Iglesias wrote on social media site X, “I am sad and disappointed. As a football player and as a person I do not represent what happened in the football city of Las Rosas today. I think it’s disgusting that they keep pushing and focusing on a co-worker.

“Putting on the Spanish national team shirt was the biggest thing that happened in my life. I don’t know if I will have the chance to do it again, but I have decided not to return to the national team until things change and such actions go unpunished. For a more fair, humane and decent football.”

Butellas expressed his support for his teammate social media, “It’s unacceptable. It’s over. I’m with you, teammate (Hermoso).”

Former Spain men’s captain Igar Casillas That’s the situation His fellow Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea was “absolutely embarrassed”. Wrote in X: “My ears are bleeding.” Spanish soccer star Hector Pellarin wrote on Instagram that Rubiales’ actions and comments were “a real embarrassment.”

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