Spanish soccer chief quits over World Cup kiss scandal

Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish soccer federation, has announced his resignation after facing backlash for kissing a player on the lips at the Women’s World Cup final. Rubiales kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso, who scored the winning goal for Spain against England, without her consent and sparked a legal complaint from her.

Rubiales says he cannot continue his work

Rubiales made his decision public in an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, saying he had submitted his resignation to the federation’s acting president Pedro Rocha. “I cannot continue my work,” Rubiales said. “Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish soccer.”

Spanish soccer chief quits over World Cup kiss scandal
Spanish soccer chief quits over World Cup kiss scandal

Rubiales claimed that the kiss was “mutual” and “consensual”, but he had been provisionally suspended by FIFA, the world soccer governing body, over the incident. He also resigned from his position as vice-president of UEFA’s executive committee.

Rubiales said he had faith in the truth and he would do everything in his power to prevail. “My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of excessive persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that on the street, more and more every day, the truth is prevailing,” he said.

Hermoso files a legal complaint against Rubiales

Hermoso, 33, said that the kiss after Spain’s 1-0 victory over England was not consensual and she filed a legal complaint last Tuesday. She said that Rubiales had grabbed her by the neck and forced his lips on hers while she was trying to celebrate with her teammates.

“I felt violated and humiliated by his act. He had no right to do that to me. I did not consent to that kiss and I did not want it. It was an abuse of power and a lack of respect,” Hermoso said in a statement.

Hermoso’s legal complaint means that Rubiales could face criminal charges for sexual assault. The Spanish prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into the matter, saying it was necessary “to determine its legal significance”.

Spain players boycott national team over Rubiales

The kiss scandal also caused a rift between Rubiales and the Spain players, who expressed their solidarity with Hermoso and their outrage over Rubiales’ behavior. Some 81 Spain players, including all 23 World Cup winners, said they would not play for the national team again while Rubiales was in charge.

The players issued a joint statement saying that they condemned Rubiales’ actions and demanded his immediate resignation. They also called for an apology from him to Hermoso and to all women who play soccer.

“We are proud of our teammate Jenni Hermoso for standing up for herself and for all of us. We are appalled by what Luis Rubiales did to her at the World Cup final. It was a disgraceful and unacceptable act that violated her dignity and integrity as a person and as a player,” the statement read.

The players also said that they hoped that Rubiales’ departure would boost Spain’s joint bid with Morocco and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup.

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