Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales has refused to resign over kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips, despite pressure from FIFA, players, unions and polticians.
Speaking at an emergency assembly on Friday, Rubiales complained that “false feminists” were “trying to kill me”. He described the kiss as a peck that was “free, mutual and consensual”.
“Is a consensual peck going to take me out of here? I won’t resign. I will fight until the end,” Rubiales said, drawing applause from the predominantly male audience.
Spain´s second deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz said on Friday that Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales´ speech and refusal to resign over kissing a Women´s World Cup player on the lips was “unacceptable”.
“The government must act and take urgent measures: impunity for macho actions is over. Rubiales cannot continue in office,” said Diaz in a post on social media platform X.
Condemnation has built throughout the week of the incident which occurred while the players were being handed their medals after they beat England 1-0 in the World Cup final on Sunday. As players filed past, Rubiales grabbed Hermoso by the head and planted a kiss on her mouth.
It culminated with FIFA opening disciplinary procedures against him on Thursday after Hermoso said in a statement on Wednesday that her union was working to defend her interests and that such acts should “never go unpunished”.
Rubiales initially reacted defiantly to the backlash, describing his critics as “idiots”. But he swiftly backtracked, posting an apology video recorded while flying back from Sydney.
As it became apparent that his apology had not gained traction – with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez describing it as “not enough” – regional leaders of the RFEF held a crisis meeting in Madrid on Thursday to discuss Rubiales’s future and options for a potential successor, a source told Reuters.