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Kiss of death: Spanish coach Luis Rubiales resigns after kissing scandal

By Freya Wanjiku September 11th, 2023 2 min read

Spanish football federation president and Vice President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Luis Rubiales vowed to clear his name against ‘excessive persecution’ even as he tendered his resignation.

The Spanish football chief said that after the rapid suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of proceedings opened against him, it was evident that he would not be able to return to his position.

“My daughters, my family, and the people that love me have 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,” he wrote.

He added, “I have faith in the truth, and I will do everything when it’s in my hands so that it prevails.”

On August 20, Rubiales kissed Jennifer Hermoso, one of the team’s star players, after Spain defeated England, 1-0, at the World Cup final in Sydney, Australia.

He offered an apology, claiming that the kiss was mutual and that Ms Hermoso had ‘moved me close to her body’ during their encounter onstage.

However, Ms Hermoso trashed Rubiales’ explanation, saying that they were categorically false and part of a manipulative culture that he himself had generated.

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“I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part,” Hermoso said on social media. “Simply put, I was not respected.”

Hermoso and teammates on Spain’s 2023 World Cup winning squad and other professional women’s soccer players said they would not play again for the country until Rubiales was removed from his position.

Eighty-one people signed a statement posted to the players’ union site FUTPRO and shared on X.

“No woman should see herself needing to answer questions based on the blunt images that the entire world has seen, and, of course, no one should be involved in attitudes without consent,” the statement reads.

The national team players continued: “It fills us with sadness that an act so unacceptable as this is managing to tarnish the biggest sporting achievement in Spanish women’s football history.”

As pressures continued to mount from the public and politicians forced him to resign, Rubiales repeatedly said he would not consider the uproar ‘unjust’ campaigns and ‘fake feminism.’

All 23 of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad members, including Hermoso, and nearly 50 other professional female soccer players said they would not play for the national team again until Rubiales was removed. The national team’s next fixture is on September 22.

Also read: Tony Mochama: How sexual harassment claim ruined my social life and career