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Spain’s football boss Rubiales resigns after kissing scandal

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Spain’s football boss Rubiales resigns after kissing scandal

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish football association RFEF, resigns after the kissing scandal at the Women’s World Cup. Photo: RFEF/Europa Press/AP/dpa

Now he is drawing conclusions from the kissing scandal. Luis Rubiales resigns as president of the Spanish Football Federation: “I cannot continue my work.”

Three weeks after the kissing scandal, Luis Rubiales drew the consequences. The 46-year-old, who had initially vehemently ruled out resigning, gave up his position as president of the Spanish Football Association, as well as his vice-presidency in the European Football Union.

After Rubiales announced his withdrawal in an episode of the talk show “Piers Morgan Uncensored” that had not yet been fully broadcast, the Spanish association confirmed his decision in a statement. Rubiales has submitted his resignation, the brief statement said.

Abusive behavior sparked worldwide protests

“I can’t continue my work,” he said on “Piers Morgan Uncensored.” He spoke to his father, his daughters and also close friends. It’s not just about him, said Rubiales. His aggressive behavior at the award ceremony in Sydney on the 20th caused massive and worldwide criticism when he kissed world champion Jennifer Hermoso on the mouth.

Hermoso made it clear afterwards that she did not agree to this. She recently said that she felt “like a victim of an impulsive, sexist and inappropriate act to which I did not consent” and reported Rubiales. She had previously testified to the public prosecutor. Rubiales had always emphasized that the kiss was mutual.

Rubiales was suspended for 90 days by FIFA. World association head Gianni Infantino, who was also at the award ceremony after Spain’s 1-0 win over England, wrote on Instagram about the incident about a week and a half after the final: “This should never have happened.” Previously UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said in an interview with the French sports newspaper L’Équipe: “Of course what he did is inappropriate. We all know that. I hope he knows it was inappropriate.”

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But Rubiales had shown no trace of insight, and certainly not of remorse. In a remarkable speech, he insisted that he wanted to remain in office. Criticism of his abusive behavior even reached the highest political levels. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said: “You just have to imagine if Angela Merkel had kissed Philipp Lahm like that in 2014. All hell would have broken loose or that is simply unimaginable and that says it all. “How difficult is it not to kiss someone on the lips?”, emphasized the spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres, Stephane Dujarric.

Lots of solidarity with Hermoso and criticism of Rubiales

Almost everyone in football showed solidarity with Hermoso, and the Spanish regional associations called for his resignation. The Spanish men’s national team recently condemned the behavior of Rubiales, whose mother went on hunger strike to protest what they called the “inhumane and bloody hunt” of her son. Internationally, however, there was a lot of solidarity with Hermoso and massive criticism of Rubiales.

The Spanish association, which had at times tried to discredit Hermoso, also recently apologized to the 33-year-old. In addition, coach Jorge Vilda, whose assistants had resigned in solidarity with Hermoso, was fired.

Rubiales now remains banned from all football-related activities even after his retirement. FIFA has initiated disciplinary proceedings and is expected to continue them. A multi-year ban is possible, which would prevent Rubiales from returning to another position. He has also sat on the Executive Committee of the European Football Union as UEFA Vice President since 2018. (dpa/dl)

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