Luis Rubiales, the President of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has announced his resignation. This comes after a tumultuous three weeks marked by controversies and legal challenges, making his resignation seemingly inevitable.
The controversy began when Rubiales forcibly kissed Spanish international Jennifer Hermoso after the women’s team’s World Cup victory on August 20. This action drew widespread criticism and condemnation from FIFA and the public.
In a statement on his social media accounts, Rubiales said, “At 9:30 pm, I submitted my resignation to the current president, Mr. Pedro Rocha, as the President of the Spanish Football Federation, as well as my resignation from the position of Vice President of UEFA.”
The now-former RFEF president acknowledged that he had no other option, explaining, “Due to the swift 90-day suspension imposed by FIFA on August 26 and the ongoing legal proceedings against me, it is clear that I can no longer return to my position. Continuing to wait and hold on will not yield anything positive for the Federation or Spanish football, as certain forces will prevent my return.”
Luis Rubiales had faced immense pressure to resign, not only from the sports world but also from the political establishment. He faces a criminal complaint for “sexual assault” and a separate complaint in sports jurisdiction for “abuse of authority.” Additionally, he awaits FIFA’s disciplinary commission’s decision regarding his inappropriate behaviour during the celebration of the women’s national team’s World Cup victory.
While he staunchly defended his actions, including claiming that Hermoso had consented to the kiss, Rubiales surprised many by refusing to resign during an extraordinary general assembly of the RFEF on August 25.
His change of heart appears to stem from a desire to protect his loved ones. He lamented, “My daughters, my family, and those who love me have suffered the effects of excessive persecution and numerous falsehoods.”
During a two-hour television interview with British journalist Piers Morgan on Sunday night, Rubiales revealed that it was his close friends and family who urged him to resign. He stated, “Yes, I resigned because I can no longer continue my work. I spoke with my father, my daughters, and a few very close friends. They told me I needed to focus on my dignity and continue with my life because otherwise, I could hurt people and the sport I love. It’s the smartest thing I had to do.”
Luis Rubiales is now turning his attention to the legal challenges ahead. He said, “I will defend my honour and innocence. I have faith in the future and the truth.”
Rubiales’ resignation marks the end of a contentious chapter in Spanish football, leaving the federation to navigate the future amid ongoing legal proceedings and the need for new leadership.