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WORLD CUP KISS

Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales resigns over unsolicited kissing of player

Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales resigns over unsolicited kissing of player
epa10853513 (FILE) - Spanish RFEF President Luis Rubiales speaks during a presser in Madrid, Spain, 22 September 2022 (Reissued 10 September 2023). Luis Rubiales has resigned on 10 September 2023, as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and vice president of UEFA's executive committee following widespread criticism for kissing Spain's forward Jenni Hermoso after winning the Women's World Cup final. EPA-EFE/JUAN CARLOS HIDALGO

Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales, engulfed in a scandal over allegations he gave an unsolicited kiss to a player on his country’s women’s World Cup team last month, said on Sunday he had resigned from his position as president.

Luis Rubiales announced his resignation in a statement in which he said his position had become untenable.

A Spanish prosecutor filed a complaint with the high court against Rubiales last week for sexual assault and coercion over his allegedly unsolicited kiss on the lips of Jenni Hermoso.

Luis Rubiales and Jennifer Hermoso

President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales (right) kisses Jennifer Hermoso of Spain (left) during the medal ceremony after Spain beat England 1-0 to win the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup. (Photo: Noemi Llamas / Eurasia Sport Images / Getty Images)

The complaint, announced on Friday, describes how Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the mouth “without her consent” while holding her head with both hands after Spain defeated England to clinch victory in the 2023 women’s World Cup in Sydney on 20 August.

rubiales

People take part in a protest to demand the resignation of the president of the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation Luis Rubiales in Las Rozas, Madrid on 25 August 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Mariscal)

Rubiales has said the kiss was mutual and consensual and had until Sunday defied calls from players, government officials and others for him to resign.

Hermoso also lodged a criminal complaint against him last week.

Rubiales had also been suspended for three months from all football activities by Fifa pending an investigation by soccer’s world governing body into his actions.

“After the rapid suspension carried out by Fifa, plus the rest of the proceedings opened against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position,” Rubiales said in his statement.

“Insisting on waiting and clinging … is not going to contribute anything positive, neither to the Federation nor to Spanish football. Among other things, because there are de facto powers that will prevent my return,” he added.

He said he had also stepped down as a vice president of European soccer body Uefa.

Reuters asked Jenni Hermoso’s representative for comment on Rubiales’ resignation, but they did not return the telephone call.

The Rubiales case has sparked outrage among players and many in wider Spanish society.

“The feminist country is advancing faster and faster,” Spain’s acting Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz posted on X on Sunday after news of Rubiales’ resignation. “The transformation and improvement of our lives is inevitable. We are with you, Jenni, and with all women.”

Rubiales appeared to continue to defend his version of events.

“I have faith in the truth and I am going to do everything in my power to make it prevail,” he said in his statement.

In an interview with journalist Piers Morgan on Sunday Rubiales added he decided to resign after talking to family and friends.

“Luis, you have to focus on your dignity and continue your life. (Otherwise) you will probably be hurting more people you love and the sport you love,” he quoted them as saying.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska and Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Frances Kerry and Toby Davis)

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