Spanish FA urges suspended president Luis Rubiales to quit as pressure grows following Jenni Hermoso kiss

29 August 2023, 06:05 | Updated: 31 August 2023, 15:32

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

By Kieran Kelly

Spain's football federation has called for its boss Luis Rubiales to quit after he kissed a player following their Women's World Cup win.

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Rubiales, 46, who has vowed to stay on, was told to "immediately present his resignation as president" because of "unacceptable behaviours that have seriously damaged the image of Spanish football".

The body, RFEF, which governs the sport in Spain, called an urgent meeting.

The body also requested "a deep and imminent organic restructuring in strategic positions of the federation to give way to a new stage of management in Spanish football".

It is unclear whether Rubiales plans to resign at this stage.

Luis Rubiales
Luis Rubiales. Picture: Alamy

It comes after Spanish prosecutors said they have launched a sexual assault investigation into the FA's suspended president Luis Rubiales after he kissed striker Jenni Hermoso on the lips.

A spokesperson for the Spanish National Court said: "Prosecutors from the national court have opened a preliminary investigation to look into the facts, which could constitute an offence of sexual assault".

Hermoso will be given a chance to launch a lawsuit.

It comes just minutes before a planned "extraordinary and urgent" meeting is set to take place involving the Spanish FA at 4pm local time (3pm BST).

Rubiales, who is currently serving a 90-day suspension by Fifa, insists he had consent from Hermoso to kiss her on the lips.

Read More: Spanish prosecutors launch sexual assault probe against Luis Rubiales after Jenni Hermoso

Meanwhile, Rubiales' mum revealed she has 'locked herself in a church' and gone on 'hunger strike' over the 'bloody hunt' against her son.

Rubiales' mother, Angeles Bejar, told EFE she plans to stay in the Divina Pastora church in southern Spain ""indefinitely, day and night".

Ms Bejar labelled the controversy surrounding her son's kiss with Spain striker Jenni Hermoso a "hunt...that he does not deserve".

She has urged Hermoso to "tell the truth" and "maintain the version she had at the beginning of the events".

Rubiales is "incapable of harming anyone", Ms Bejar said, saying there was "consent on both sides".

It comes after the Spanish FA called an 'emergency meeting' after its Sexual Violence Protocol was activated in the wake of the kissing scandal.

A row broke out after Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women's World Cup.

Afterwards, Hermoso said she "did not like it", though Rubiales has maintained he had consent.

A banner hangs that says "CONTIGO JENNI" which translates to With Jenni
A banner hangs that says "CONTIGO JENNI" which translates to With Jenni. Picture: Getty

Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona, the protocol's protection delegate, said an investigation into Rubiales' kiss of forward Hermoso has now begun.

"Our protocol is currently activated and in the midst of investigating the events, thus we demand the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of all individuals involved," she said in a letter published by the organisation.

"As the protection delegate for sexual violence, my duty is to adhere to the protocol and safeguard the privacy of those affected by this incident and of the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee."

The RFEF has also called regional federations to an "extraordinary and urgent" meeting on Monday "to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself".

Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has been suspended by FIFA after kissing forward Jenni Hermoso at the World Cup final.

Luis Rubiales justifications for World Cup final kiss 'reeks'

Rubiales will not be able to take part in any football-related activities for 90 days, according to the governing body's disciplinary committee.

FIFA took the extraordinary move to protect "the fundamental rights of the national soccer team player Ms. Jennifer Hermoso and the good order of the disciplinary proceedings", it said.

Members of the country's football federation (RFEF) have also been told not to contact Hermoso.

FIFA added that it "reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigor any behavior to the contrary."

Luis Rubiales has refused to quit despite pressure from the women's team, several major Spanish clubs and even the country's government.

Read more: Spanish football federation says under fire boss ‘did not lie’ over kiss

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

Spanish FA President Luis Rubiales' unconsensual kiss at women's World Cup final 'isn't a big deal’.

The RFEF had vowed legal action against Hermoso and accused her of lying about whether she had consented in the kiss.

The World Cup-winning squad has vowed to stop playing while he remains in post, with Hermoso slamming the federation's “manipulative, hostile and controlling culture".

Rubiales was also seen grabbing his crotch while standing near Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter Princess Infanta Sofia at Stadium Australia last weekend.

"I will not resign, I will not resign," he told an extraordinary general assembly called by the RFEF on Friday. "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," he added.