Rubiales bows to pressure and steps down from RFEF, but vows to clear his name

September 11 – After weeks of pressure Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA (RFEF), has resigned following his unsolicited kiss with World Cup winner Jennifer Hermoso after the tournament’s final, but the football official vowed to clear his name. 

On Sunday, Rubiales stepped down from his role as president of the Spanish FA (RFEF) after weeks of pressure and criticism over his conduct during the trophy presentation of the Women’s World Cup final when, after Spain’s victory over England, he planted a kiss on the lips of Hermoso.

“Today, I notified the interim president at 930 pm, Mr. Pedro Rocha, that I have resigned as President of RFEF,” Rubiales said on X. “I have also let him know that I have also resigned my position in UEFA so that my Vice-presidency position can be filled.”

“To insist on waiting around,” he continued, “and holding on to that won’t contribute anything positive, neither to the Federation nor to Spanish football. Among other things, because the powers that be will prevent my return.”

The RFEF confirmed his resignation but will not call for a directors meeting to appoint his successor. Rubiales, who has been suspended by FIFA, will also step down from his role as vice-president of UEFA, but in the face of global condemnation, the official remained defiant to protect his reputation.

“I have faith in the truth and I will do everything when it’s in my hands so that it prevails,” he wrote. “My daughters, my family and the people that love me have suffered the effects of an excessive persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it’s also true that in the street, every day more, the truth is being imposed.”

Rubiales previously apologised and described the kiss as “mutual”. However, Hermoso denied his version of events and said she did not consent and was not respected.

Yolanda Diaz, Spain’s second deputy prime minister, tweeted: ‘The feminist country is advancing faster and faster. The transformation and improvement of our lives is inevitable. We are with you, Jenni, and with all women.’

The scandal prompted a crisis in Spanish football, leading to a wider debate about sexism in both the game and in Spanish society. For weeks the country’s top politicians and the heads of Spain’s regional football federations had been calling for Rubiales to stand down, but Rubiales defied those calls, arguing that he had done nothing wrong.

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