Luis Rubiales, the suspended head of the Spanish soccer federation, resigned on Sunday under mounting pressure, culminating in a three-week controversy surrounding his kiss of a player on the lips during Spain's historic Women's World Cup victory. The incident, which took place during the globally televised awards ceremony after Spain defeated England to claim the title on August 20 in Sydney, Australia, stirred significant outrage. Player Jenni Hermoso, on the receiving end of the kiss, asserted that it was without her consent.
Despite being temporarily suspended by FIFA for his behavior at the final, Rubiales remained defiant and combative towards his critics. Matters escalated further when Spanish state prosecutors accused him of sexual assault and coercion in connection with the kiss, following Hermoso's formal accusation of sexual assault. Rubiales maintained that the kiss was consensual and occurred in a "moment of jubilation." However, Hermoso and her players' union refuted this claim, stating that they had been pressured by the federation to show support for Rubiales. The incident was widely condemned as a sexist act and an abuse of authority by fans, players, politicians, and others.
In the wake of these developments, Rubiales decided to resign not only from his position as the head of the Spanish soccer federation but also as UEFA vice president. His resignation came amidst concerns that the scandal could harm Spain's joint bid to host the 2030 men's World Cup, alongside Portugal, Morocco, and possibly Ukraine. Despite Rubiales' departure, questions linger about the future of Spanish soccer, especially concerning the women's team, which had refused to play for their country until changes in the federation's leadership were made. Spain's women's league had also been on strike, demanding higher wages. The upheaval surrounding Rubiales adds a significant chapter to discussions about gender equity and conduct in Spanish soccer.
[Information from AP news]