Spanish FA boss Luis Rubiales refuses to quit blaming 'false feminism' amid outrage over World Cup kiss

25 August 2023, 11:48 | Updated: 31 August 2023, 15:31

Luis Rubiales has refused to stand down.
Luis Rubiales has refused to stand down. Picture: Alamy
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has refused to resign following his behaviour at the Women's World Cup final, blaming 'false feminism' for a 'social murder' against him.

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Rubiales sparked outrage when he kissed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth as she collected her medal following the 1-0 win over England in Sydney.

Footage also emerged that showed Rubiales grabbing his crotch while standing near Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter Princess Infanta Sofia.

"I will not resign, I will not resign," he told an extraordinary general assembly called by the RFEF. "A social assassination is taking place here."

Rubiales apologised for the kiss on Monday before Fifa, world football's governing body, opened disciplinary proceedings against him on Thursday.

"I'm ready to be vilified to defend my ideals," added Rubiales.

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Jenni Hermoso was kissed by FA boss Luis Rubiales
Jenni Hermoso was kissed by FA boss Luis Rubiales. Picture: Alamy

The 46-year-old has been under immense pressure to leave his post since he grabbed Hermoso and kissed her on the lips during the awards ceremony following Spain's victory.

Fifa, soccer's global governing body and organiser of the Women's World Cup, opened a disciplinary case against him on Thursday.

Its disciplinary committee was tasked with weighing whether Rubiales violated its code relating to "the basic rules of decent conduct" and "behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or Fifa into disrepute".

That move came after Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that Rubiales' attempt to apologise, which came after he initially insulted his critics, was unconvincing, and that "he must continue taking further steps" to be held accountable.

Spain's Higher Council of Sports, the nation's governing sports body, pledged it would act quickly to consider various formal complaints filed against Rubiales to see if he had broken Spain's sports law or the federation's own code of conduct that sanction sexist acts.

If so, Rubiales would face being declared unfit to hold his office by Spain's Administrative Court for Sports.

The combination of the gesture and the unsolicited kiss caused Rubiales to be described as a national embarrassment after his conduct was broadcast to a global audience, marring the Spanish team's accomplishment.

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The incident occured at the Spain v England: Final - FIFA Women's World Cup
The incident occured at the Spain v England: Final - FIFA Women's World Cup. Picture: Getty

Speaking about the kiss during a locker-room celebration which was streamed on social media immediately after the incident, Hermoso, a 33-year-old forward and key contributor to Spain's victory, said: "I did not like it, but what could I do?"

The first attempt to respond to the scandal was a statement it released in the name of Hermoso in which she downplayed the incident.

Later, a local media report by sports website Relevo.com said that the federation had coerced her into making the statement. The federation has denied this.

On Wednesday, Hermoso issued a statement through her players' union saying it would speak on her behalf.

The union said it would do all it could to ensure that the kiss does "not go unpunished".

Rubiales has received no public support from any major sports figure, and political parties have united in calling for him to resign.

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