Spanish Soccer Federation President, Luis Rubiales, has released a statement asserting his intention to legally defend himself against the allegations made by Spanish forward, Jenni Hermoso. Rubiales has expressed his confidence in FIFA’s ability to handle the matter fairly and hopes that his innocence will be proven. Despite the controversy surrounding him, Rubiales has refused to step down from his position.
The controversy arose when Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips during a medal ceremony following Spain’s victory over England in Sydney. Hermoso has stated that she did not consent to the kiss, and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced its intention to take legal action against her for her comments about Rubiales.
In response to the incident, FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales and has banned him from all football-related activities at both national and international levels for a period of 90 days. The decision has been met with support from the public, including former England and Barcelona player, Gary Lineker.
Rubiales, who had a career mainly in Spain’s second division, was elected to lead the RFEF in 2018 with the promise of modernizing the organization and making it more transparent. However, feminist groups have called for his resignation, and the Spanish government, while unable to remove him from his position, has strongly denounced his actions and is seeking to have him suspended through legal procedures.
The Spain women’s team has also taken a stand against Rubiales, with all 23 members of the cup-winning squad, including Hermoso, as well as 32 other squad members, stating that they will not participate in international matches as long as Rubiales remains in charge of the federation. Hermoso has denied Rubiales’ claim that the kiss was consensual, stating that she did not consent to the kiss and did not attempt to lift the president.
The RFEF has responded to the situation by stating that legal action will be taken in response to the allegations made by the FUTPRO Union, which represents the players. They have also released four photos from the event, claiming that they support Rubiales’ assertion that Hermoso lifted him by the hips.
Despite widespread expectations that Rubiales would resign, he has repeatedly stated that he will not step down and has accused “false feminists” of attempting to harm him. Acting Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz has condemned Rubiales’ comments as “unacceptable” and has called for urgent action to address the issue of gender inequality.
Gender issues have become a significant topic in Spain, with large-scale protests against sexual abuse and violence taking place in recent years. The current Socialist-led government has implemented legal reforms to promote gender equality, including measures related to equal pay, abortion, sex work, and transgender rights.
Rubiales’ comments and the support he received at the federation meeting have been met with widespread criticism on social media. The England national team expressed solidarity with Hermoso and the Spanish players, stating, “We all stand with you, @jennihermoso and all players of the Spanish team.”