Luis Rubiales refuses to resign as President of the Spanish Football Federation

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish Football Federation

MADRID – After a tumultuous week of criticism, Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), was expected to tender his resignation on Friday during an extraordinary meeting convened by the RFEF. However, quite the reverse happened.

His decision comes in the wake of a controversial incident in which he lifted football player Jenni Hermoso and kissed her fully on the lips during the celebrations of the Women’s World Cup. Although he was under immense pressure from government figures, other footballers, and the public at large, he has maintained that he did not do anything wrong. In fact, her went as far to say the kiss was consensual.

Related: Drama, controversy, joy and heartbreak at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 

The incident occurred following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final in Australia. It sparked significant outrage in Spain. Rubiales celebrated the win with some inappropriate gestures while in the VIP area of the stadium. This was seen by millions of people and captured on camera. Then, later during the medal presentations, he kissed Hermoso on the lips. The player initially admitted to finding the action unsettling. 

“Unacceptable” Behaviour 

Despite an apology from Rubiales, in which he described the incident as a spontaneous act without ill intent, calls for his resignation intensified, now even more so. Prominent figures, including the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, labelled Rubiales’ behaviour as “unacceptable”. Other football world luminaries, including Carlo Ancelotti, coach of Real Madrid, also criticised Rubiales for his actions. 

In response to the incident, Hermoso demanded “exemplary measures” against Rubiales in a statement released by the football union FUTPRO. The union also urged the implementation of protocols to safeguard the rights of female footballers. 

Related: Luis Rubiales, President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation 

Shortly after the incident, the federation issued a statement in which Hermoso seemingly said the kiss was consensual and that she and Rubiales enjoyed a close relationship. Hermoso said these words were not written by her but were instead put together by the Federation. She continued by saying her family and friends had been put under pressure by the Federation.

Jenni Hermoso official statement

“I don’t want to interfere in the legal processes, but I feel compelled to denounce that the words used by Mr Luis Rubiales to explain what happened are categorically false and are part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated. I have not been respected,” Hermoso said in a written statement.

“The kiss was not consented to,” Hermoso said in a statement. “Simply put, I was not respected.”


FUTPRO, also shared the above statement on their social media on behalf of Jenni Hermoso. In addition, they have also posted their letter to the Spanish Football Federation. This begins;

The players of the Spanish National team, recent World Champions, other players, in support of Jennifer Hermoso, wish to express their strong and firm condemnation of behaviours that have undermined the dignity of women.

Jenni Hermoso


Continued support

The President of Athletic Bilbao, Jon Uriarte who is also on the board of the Federation stepped down.  He did not attend the meeting on Friday.

In a note of solidarity, England’s Lionesses sent their support;

We all stand with you, @jennihermoso and all players of the Spanish team.”

Luis Rubiales – the victim of a witch hunt?

Rubiales claims he is the victim of a “witch hunt” and “fake feminism”. He refuses to stand down, and continues to stand by his statement that the kiss was consensual.

The Spanish football federation has threatened to take legal action against FUTPRO and Jenni Hermoso.

Furthermore, it has also threatened to sue all those who signed the letter in which they confirmed their intent not to play for Spain while Rubiales remained President of the Spanish Football Federation.

In a statement, the RFEF said, it “respects, as it has always respected, the decisions of the players to participate or not with the Spanish national team in international matches. Nevertheless, it is noted that participation in the national team is an obligation for all federated individuals if called upon to do so”.

Read the full statement here.

As reported by Spanish football commentator, Serma Hunter on SKY NEWS, in the above statement released by the Federation, they say they have photographs which confirm Rubiales was not lying and are therefore being used to support his claims of innocence. However the images appear to have been altered when directly compared with the television images.

Spanish government

Meanwhile, in the absence of his anticipated resignation, the Spanish Government have already opened up administrative proceedings, taking him to a tribunal. This process began on Friday after the “non” announcement and will progress on Monday.

On a pinned Tweet on X from Labour Minister, Yolanda Diaz, she asks for his suspension while the investigation into the alleged actions gets underway. She said, “He cannot be in office another minute”.

Diaz will meet with Amanda Gutierrez president of football union, FUTPRO on Monday.

You may also like