Luis Rubiales, President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has announced his resignation following the controversial kiss incident that overshadowed Spain’s recent historic World Cup victory.
The embattled leader, who had been at the helm of the federation since 2018, faced backlash after kissing player Jenni Hermoso without her consent during the team’s title celebrations in Sydney.
The controversy, which grew from the kissing incident, spun out of control over the next few weeks and was amplified by the media who targeted Rubiales’ initial reaction and his defiance in the face of widespread calls for his departure. In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Rubiales did acknowledge the negative impact his continued presence was having on the federation and its players. He mentioned his decision was based on the realization that his role had become a distraction, leading to his resignation.
However, Rubiales wasn’t the only high-profile figure affected. Jorge Vilda, Spain’s women’s national team coach, was fired by the Spanish soccer federation, despite leading the team to their first-ever World Cup championship.
BREAKING: Luis Rubiales has sensationally resigned as President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation following the scandal over him kissing Spain’s Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup Final. He revealed the news in a world exclusive interview for @PiersUncensored pic.twitter.com/Kl2uQTOzqv
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 10, 2023
Several members of the victorious Spanish team voiced their criticism of both men, some even refusing to play under Vilda’s leadership in the aftermath. Forward Jenni Hermoso, the player at the center of the controversy, expressed her discomfort with the incident, stating she “didn’t enjoy” the experience.
This sentiment was allegedly shared by other players, revealing a rift between the players and the management.
While Rubiales did offer an initial apology, describing the act as something he did in the heat of the moment, he later hinted at the kiss being consensual—a claim strongly refuted by Hermoso. In a significant development, she has since filed a sexual assault complaint against Rubiales with Spanish authorities. As a result, Spanish prosecutors are preparing to take Rubiales to court. If convicted, the former RFEF president could face up to four years in prison and a potential fine.
Defenderé mi honorabilidad.
Defenderé mi inocencia.
Tengo Fe en el futuro.
Tengo Fe en la verdad.
Gracias a todos. 🇪🇸https://t.co/yS9rM1HBTm
— Luis Rubiales (@LuisRubiales17) September 10, 2023
Vilda, for his part, expressed regret in a video apology but maintained he felt his punishment was too severe. He stated, “In sporting terms, I’ll accept almost anything. In personal terms, I think I’ve been unfairly treated. I’ve always treated the players with respect.”
However, as Rubiales faces legal consequences, the Spanish soccer community and fans worldwide are left grappling with the broader implications of this scandal.
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