Spanish football federation calls for Rubiales to resign as Prosecutor investigates possible sexual assault

by Lorraine Williamson
Rubiales still refuses to resign

The developments surrounding the President of the Spanish Football Federation are spreading like a wild fire. The public prosecutor in Spain has now launched an investigation into Luis Rubiales for alleged sexual assault. And where Rubiales was previously backed by the Spanish Football Federation, board members are now asking him to resign. Which he has so far refused to do. 

Luis Rubiales’ unsolicited kiss to football star Jenni Hermoso, caused a polemic in Spain about gender inequality. Media coverage at home and abroad continues unabated. But now, it has long ceased to be just about the kiss and about the position of women’s football. It is about power relations between men and women in general.  

Spain is leading the way when it comes to gender equality and regulating sexual violence. For example, there is a minister for Equality, menstrual leave and tightened legislation around sexual violence: only yes is yes. 

Public prosecution 

In a decision signed on Monday, the prosecutor’s office of the National Court stated that, “given Jennifer Hermoso’s public statements, the sexual act she underwent, which was performed by Mr Rubiales, was not voluntary”. 

Several people filed charges days later with the Madrid Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, which sent the documentation to the National Supreme Court which has sole jurisdiction to investigate the events. This is because they took place abroad at the FIFA Women´s World Cup Final in Australia. This organisation opened a preliminary judicial enquiry on Monday to investigate what happened. 

But there is another charge that “refers to the existence of obscene exhibitionism in front of a minor”. That relates to the fact that Rubiales, ecstatically grabbed his genitals a few metres from the queen and the Infanta Sofia.  

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Should the World Cup kiss end up in a criminal case, Rubiales, if found guilty, could face a prison sentence of between one and four years.

Spanish football federation asks Rubiales to resign 

After international football federation FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday, he was suspended for 90 days by the disciplinary committee two days later.  

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) met again on Monday at an emergency meeting following the situation and is now asking Rubiales to resign with immediate effect. 

Due to his provisional suspension, the Spanish president is not allowed to carry out any football-related activities at national or international level until further notice. However, Rubiales has so far still refused to resign. 

High Sports Council 

On Monday evening, the Administrative Sports Tribunal (TAD) also met. This dealt with an indictment against Rubiales by the High Sports Council, a government body, for violating several rules under the Sports Act. He is accused of abuse of power and public acts detrimental to sport. 

Read also: Mother of suspended Luis Rubiales on hunger strike 

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