Luis Rubiales resigns as head of Spanish Football Federation
MADRID — Following criticism for kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso during the Women's World Cup final presentation ceremony, Luis Rubiales has resigned as head of the Spanish Football Federation.
Hermoso, 33, said the kiss after Spain defeated England was not voluntary, and on Tuesday she launched a lawsuit.
In a statement, Rubiales said he had given the federation's acting president, Pedro Rocha, notice of his resignation.
He said to Piers Morgan on his television program that "I cannot continue my work."
Additionally, the 46-year-old quit his job as vice president of the Uefa executive committee.
Spain's World Cup victory has been overshadowed by the aftermath of the kiss in recent weeks, with Rubiales defying repeated calls for his resignation.
Following Hermoso's testimony on Tuesday, a prosecutor complained against Rubiales to Spain's Supreme Court on Friday for sexual assault and coercion.
Despite Rubiales' claims that the kiss was "mutual and "consensual," Fifa has temporarily barred him from sport.
According to Rubiales' statement, "I will not be able to return to my position after the swift suspension carried out by Fifa, plus the other open proceedings against me."
"Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither for the federation nor for Spanish football."
Rubiales expressed his optimism that his resignation will strengthen Spain's joint candidacy to host the 2030 World Cup with Portugal, Morocco, and Morocco.
I believe in the truth, and I will do all in my power to win, he continued.
The impacts of extreme persecution and numerous lies have been felt by my girls, my family, and those I love, but it is also true that the truth is prevailing on the street more and more every day.
While Rubiales was in charge, 81 Spain players, including all 23 World Cup champions, declared they would not compete for their country again.
As a result of the incident, Rubiales' close buddy and World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda was fired on September 5. Montse Tome was appointed as Vilda's replacement.
While demonstrators gathered at the federation's headquarters last month to demand Rubiales' resignation, politicians, football players, and celebrities have all spoken out against him.
Yolanda Diaz, the temporary minister of labor for Spain, wrote on X (previously Twitter): "The feminist country is progressing more and more.
Life must change and get better; that much is certain. Jenni, we stand by you and all females.
The Minister of Equity for Spain, Irene Montero, added:
It has ended.
When Morgan questioned Rubiales about what ultimately prompted him to resign, Rubiales replied that he talked to his family and sought out friends' opinions.
Luis, you need to focus on your dignity and continue your life because if not, you are going to harm the people you love and the sport you love, according to Rubiales. "My father, my daughters, I spoke with them—they know it's not a question about me—and some friends very close to me," added Rubiales.
"This wasn't just a question for me. An attitude toward me can have an impact on highly important third parties. I had to do it because it was the smart thing to do.
Hermoso was given a warm welcome by Pachuca fans and teammates on Sunday before their 2-1 victory over the Pumas in the Liga MX women's league in Mexico.
The 33-year-old received a framed jersey bearing her number 10 and revealed a painting on the Hidalgo Stadium walls honoring her accomplishments with Spain in the Women's World Cup.
Hermoso's complaint was for sexual assault, but Marta Durantez Gil added a claim of coercion when she filed it with the high court after the prosecutor was informed by the plaintiff that Rubiales and his "professional entourage" had put pressure on her relatives to say she "justified and approved what happened."
The court will now decide whether to officially charge Rubiales.
Before the kiss, Rubiales was spotted grasping his bum while celebrating Spain's 1-0 victory over England in Sydney, close to Queen Letizia and her daughter.
The case will now be evaluated by a high court judge, who will then determine whether to accept or archive the request. If the application is approved, a magistrate will be chosen to oversee an inquiry that will result in a recommendation for the case to proceed to trial or be dismissed.
Under Spanish law, a sexual assault conviction can result in a fine or a four-year prison sentence.
"International crimes like terrorism and organized crime are frequently the focus of the Supreme Court." Because the alleged assault by Rubiales happened there, it is relevant to this case, according to BBC Madrid correspondent Guy Hedgecoe.
On August 28, Spanish prosecutors launched a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the occurrence qualifies as a sexual assault crime.
The "unequivocal nature" of 33-year-old Hermoso's words prompted Spain's top criminal court to announce at the time that it had begun an investigation into them in order to "determine their legal significance."
When he kissed Hermoso, Spain's national sports tribunal (TAD) declared that he had committed a "serious offense" and began a misconduct investigation against him.
The TAD did not, however, go as far as the "very serious offense" the government had asked for, which would have resulted in his suspension.