September 24, 2023

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Luis Rubiales has faced weeks of fierce criticism. (Getty Images)

Rubiales resigns as Spanish football president

September 10, 2023

By Patrick Sung, Issy Ronald, and Homero De la Fuente, CNN

(CNN) — Luis Rubiales resigned from his position as president of the Spanish soccer federation following weeks of fierce criticism over the unwanted kiss with Women’s World Cup winner Jennifer Hermoso.

Rubiales said that he had informed the interim president of Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) that he had resigned and “I have also let him know that I have also resigned my position in UEFA so that my Vice-presidency position can be filled,” according to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He wrote that “waiting around” would not “contribute anything positive, neither to the Federation nor to Spanish football. Among other things, because there are actual powers which will prevent my return.”

He added that his family had “suffered the effects of an excessive persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it’s also true that in the street, every day more, the truth is being imposed.”

Rubiales’ unwanted kiss on Hermoso after the team’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final on August 20 sparked condemnation in Spain. The 46-year-old had previously apologized and described the kiss as “mutual” – a claim Hermoso denied, saying she was not respected.

The Spaniard had been provisionally suspended by global governing body FIFA for 90 days while a disciplinary investigation takes place.

CNN has reached out to RFEF but did not immediately hear back.

The scandal involving Rubiales has triggered a crisis in Spanish soccer with the government pushing for Rubiales to resign and RFEF last week removing World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda from his role. He was replaced by Montse Tomé, the first woman in Spanish national team history to hold the position.

On Friday, the Spanish national prosecutor filed a complaint against Rubiales “for the crimes of sexual assault and coercion against Jennifer Hermoso,” according to a prosecutor’s statement, after the La Roja star had filed an official complaint with prosecutors against the beleaguered soccer boss.

The complaint from the prosecutor’s office – part of the Spanish legal process – paves the way for Spain’s national court to launch a formal investigation into Rubiales and begin gathering evidence, which could lead to possible charges.

Public outcry to the unwanted kiss has come from every sphere of Spanish society, including from politicians and sports stars.

More than 80 Spanish soccer players put their name on a statement supporting Hermoso, saying they would not return to the national team “if the current leaders continue” in their posts.

More to follow.

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