Luis Rubiales finally resigns due to enormous pressure following kiss scandal

I'm going to [resign], yes, because I cannot continue my work," Luis Rubiales said in an interview

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Spanish Royal Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales look on as Spains acting Prime Minister receives Spain womens national football teams players after their 2023 World Cup victory at La Moncloa Palace in Madrid on August 22, 2023. — AFP
Spanish Royal Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales look on as Spain's acting Prime Minister receives Spain women's national football team's players after their 2023 World Cup victory at La Moncloa Palace in Madrid on August 22, 2023. — AFP

The Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales left his post Sunday, earlier announcing his decision in an interview after widespread criticism that was sparked after his nonconsensual kissing to Spanish football player Jenni Hermoso.

"I'm going to [resign], yes, because I cannot continue my work," Luis Rubiales said in an interview with a television show named "Piers Morgan Uncensored".

"[Family and friends] say to me 'Luis, you need to focus on your dignity and continue your life. If not you are going to damage people you love and the sport you love'."

The 46-year-old sparked worldwide criticism after he kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony following Spain's World Cup victory in Sydney on August 20.

In an open letter published by Rubiales Sunday night, he said he had informed the federation he was also stepping down as a vice-president of European football governing body UEFA.

Luis Rubiales was later suspended by FIFA provisionally for 90 days, while Spanish public prosecutors filed a lawsuit against him for sexual assault and coercion.

"After the swift suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of the procedures opened against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position," said Rubiales in the letter.

"Insisting on waiting and clinging to it is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither for the federation nor for Spanish football," he said.

"Among other things, because there are powers that be that will prevent my return."

Rubiales, who insists the kiss was consensual, said he did not want Spanish football to be hurt by "such a disproportionate campaign" against him.

"I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power so that it prevails," he wrote.

Rubiales said his departure would contribute "stability" to the 2030 men's World Cup bid in which Spain are involved.

Strong reaction over kissing Jenni Hermoso

Rubiales came under unprecedented pressure to resign, with days of criticism from figures including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Spain's women's league and several men's La Liga clubs.

Spains forward Jenni Hermoso celebrates scoring a goal during the womens international friendly football match between Spain and Norway at the Can Misses stadium in Ibiza on April 6, 2023. — AFP
Spain's forward Jenni Hermoso celebrates scoring a goal during the women's international friendly football match between Spain and Norway at the Can Misses stadium in Ibiza on April 6, 2023. — AFP

The misconduct surfaced late last month when Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales kissed World Cup-winning midfielder Jennifer Hermoso on the lips after she received her gold medal following the team's Women's World Cup final victory over England.

The President was on stage along with other special guests for FIFA's awards ceremony following the final.

Spanish Queen Letizia and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese were among the other guests present on the stage.

When it announced Rubiales had been suspended Saturday, FIFA ordered him, the RFEF and its officials and employees not to attempt to contact Hermoso, whom the RFEF had threatened with legal action earlier that day.

Protestors hold a sign reading Rubiales and macho mafia out during a demonstration called by feminist associations in support of Spains midfielder Jenni Hermoso, in Madrid on August 28, 2023. — AFP
Protestors hold a sign reading 'Rubiales and macho mafia out' during a demonstration called by feminist associations in support of Spain's midfielder Jenni Hermoso, in Madrid on August 28, 2023. — AFP

After an extraordinary meeting by Royal Spanish Football Federation President (RFEF) regional presidents last month, the body urged President Rubiales to resign from the top position.

The RFEF said after concluding the meeting between the regional heads: "After recent events and the unacceptable behaviour that has seriously damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents request that Luis Rubiales resign immediately as president of the RFEF."

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente also apologised earlier this month for praising football federation president Luis Rubiales' speech in which he stated he would not resign.

"I have to say sorry, I made a mistake, it's inexcusable," De la Fuente told a news conference.

Due to the Rubiales incident, more than 80 players from the women's team launched, while Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias declared he would not participate in the men's team.