September 5 – In their first public statement in the Rubiales affair, Spain’s men’s national team have condemned the “unacceptable behaviour” of their federation president in a show of support for the women’s World Cup-winning side.
Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by FIFA and is facing a Spanish government case against him for the “kiss-gate” scandal that prompted a storm of criticism and led to widespread calls for his resignation.
Reading a statement on behalf of the men’s squad, Spain captain Álvaro Morata told news conference at the national team’s headquarters in Madrid that Rubiales “has not lived up to the institution he represents.”
“We firmly and unequivocally stand on the side of the values that this sport represents. Spanish football must be a driving force for respect, inspiration, inclusion and diversity, and must set an example with its behaviour both on and off the field.”
The rest of the Spanish players were sitting in the room while the statement was read.
The players said Rubiales’ conduct tarnished the women’s victory.
“It’s a historic milestone filled with significance that will mark a before and after in Spanish women’s football, inspiring countless women with an invaluable triumph,” they said. “Therefore, we want to express our regret and solidarity with the players whose success has been tarnished.”
The players made their comments as Spain’s national team began its preparations for upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Georgia and Cyprus. They indicated they will not make any more public remarks about the situation involving Rubiales.
“We would like to focus on sporting matters from now on, considering the importance of the challenges ahead,” they said.
Spain men’s coach Luis de la Fuente, who had initially applauded Rubiales’ tirade against what he claimed was “false feminism”, apologised for having taken that stance. “I made a human error. It was inexcusable,” Fuente said.
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