Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has forcefully refused to resign following his offensive behaviour at the Women’s World Cup final, blaming ‘false feminism’ for a ‘social murder’ against him.
Rubiales sparked outrage when he kissed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth as she collected her medal following the 1-0 win over England in Sydney.
Footage also emerged that showed Rubiales grabbing his crotch while standing near Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter Princess Infanta Sofia.
Having branded his detractors as ‘idiots’ earlier this week, Rubiales was again defiant amid mounting pressure to step down from his position.
‘I am not going to resign,’ he shouted four times in a charged speech following an emergency meeting of federation officials, vowing ‘I will fight until the end.’
In another sensational move, Rubiales extended the contract of highly unpopular Spain women’s team coach Jorge Vilda by another four years.
Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales defiantly refused to resign in his speech
He then blew kisses to the audience after insisting he would not step down from his position
Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales arrives at their headquarters for Friday’s emergency meeting – he refused to resign in an impassioned speech
Unpopular team coach Jorge Vilda will have his contract extended, according to Rubiales
Rubiales said: ‘This is the body that elected me and the body to which I must give explanations.
‘I want to apologise for an event that occurred in the box [the crotch-grabbing]. I am going to explain it by looking at Jorge Vilda.
‘We have been through a lot, they have wanted to do to you the same thing that they are doing to me know, they are trying to create a false speech and turn it against you.
‘I was very moved when after winning the World Cup you turned around and dedicated it to me. There I made the gesture.
‘I apologise to Her Majesty the Queen, I have never behaved like this in a box.’
On the Hermoso kiss, he said: ‘It was more of a peck than a kiss. There was no desire, the desire was the same I would have giving my daughter a kiss, there was no dominance. It was spontaneous, mutual and consented.
‘I have a great relationship with all the players and we had very affectionate moments.
Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales refused to resign after his controversial on-the-mouth kiss of player Jenni Hermoso after Spain’s World Cup triumph
Rubiales sparked more outrage after footage emerged of him grabbing his crotch while celebrating Spain’s win in the vicinity of Spanish Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter
‘Jenni picked me up off the ground and we almost fell. She was the one who lifted me up.
‘We hugged and I told her: ‘Forget the [missed] penalty, you’ve been fantastic in this World Cup’ and she told me ‘you’re a crack’ and I told her, a little peck? and she said ‘okay.’
‘It is a social murder, they are trying to kill me. As a Spaniard, we have to reflect on where we are going.
‘False feminism does not seek justice, it does not seek the truth, it does not care about people.
‘Politicians have refereed to this action as sexual violence, without consent, assault… These people are trying to assassinate me publicly and I am going to defend myself like all Spaniards, in court. I will take action against these people.
‘The sensationalism of false feminism, they have pushed a lot, the press is going to continue killing me. The truth is the truth.
‘They will be able to continue with this campaign, deep in my heart I don’t care, it is a matter of humility.’
Rubiales then said: ‘The time has come to say something. I was wrong and it was not the time to make that gesture. Is it serious for me to leave? I am not going to resign.’
He repeated this statement three more times, adding: ‘I’m going to fight until the end.’
Rubiales described the reaction to his behaviour as a ‘social murder’ and blamed ‘false feminism’
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It was announced on Thursday that FIFA had opened disciplinary proceedings against the football chief, who had been clinging on to his position.
Reports emerged in the Spanish press on Thursday that Rubiales was considering his position after Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez demanded an explanation.
Rubiales has now refused to leave as the furore over the 46-year-old’s behaviour rumbles on.
Rubiales earns £214,000-a-year in his role as a vice-president for European football’s governing body UEFA.
Vilda was closely linked to Rubiales but he was accused of creating a controlling environment with Mundo Deportivo reporting he forced players to keep the doors of their rooms open so he could check they’d gone to sleep.
Vilda also allegedly checked the players’ bags when they returned from shopping trips and demanded they inform him who they were meeting outside of the team camp.
In 2022, 15 players wrote to the Spanish FA making themselves unavailable for selection while Vilda was in charge.
Footage emerged of Vilda appearing to touch a female staff member on the breast after Spain scored their winning goal in the final.
However, Rubiales said in his speech: ‘I think it has been the happiest day of my five years in office, that we are world champions.
‘I have activated the mechanisms for you to stay with us for the next four years, earning half a million euros, you deserve it.
‘You deserve it, we’ve been through a lot. You are one of the best coaches in the world and in women’s football you are without doubt the best.’
Rubiales also carried Spanish player Athenea del Castillo Beivide during the celebrations
Rubiales (right) pictured with Spain’s Queen Letizia and FIFA president Gianni Infantino after their 1-0 win over England in last Sunday’s final
Rubiales has been condemned by a variety of organisations within Spanish football, including FUTPRO – the union that represents Hermoso – and the women’s football league, Liga F, who lodged a complaint with the president of the country’s sports council [CSD].
Hermoso had rejected the invitation to appear in Rubiales’ apology video, despite his pleas that ‘my position is at stake, do it for my daughters.’
Several clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Getafe, had called on him to stand down.
FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday under Article 13 of their code of conduct, which refers to ‘offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play.’
Earlier in the week, he tried to defuse the situation by releasing an apology video, saying: ‘I have made a mistake and I have to admit it. It wasn’t done in bad faith; it was a moment of great emotion.’
Then damning footage emerged of Rubiales grabbing his crotch in the wild scenes of celebration that greeted Spain’s victory at Stadium Australia.
The Spanish Queen and her daughter were just a few metres away in the stands.
United States legend Megan Rapinoe described the moment as ‘a signal of a deep level of misogyny and sexism,’ and insisted his kiss of Hermoso was ‘physical assault.’
Rubiales embraces Spanish player Aitana Bonmati during the presentation ceremony
Rubiales hugs Alba Redondo amid Spain’s celebrations after winning the Women’s World Cup
Attacking midfielder Hermoso, who plays for CF Pachuca, admitted she ‘didn’t like’ it when Rubiales grabbed her and held her in a tight embrace before kissing her on the lips on the celebratory podium after the match, for which he later reluctantly apologised despite initially defending his behaviour.
Spanish football chief Miguel Ángel Galán has now filed a complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office in Madrid and the State Attorney General’s Office alleging Rubiales’ actions constituted sexual assault.
Galan, president of CENAFE – the country’s national school for football coaches – said: ‘I would like to file a complaint against Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Soccer Federation, for committing an alleged crime of sexual assault against the Spanish women’s soccer team’s Jennifer Hermoso.
‘This was an intolerable act of sexist behaviour within our sport, which could constitute an alleged crime of sexual assault. I therefore request that a complaint be filed’.
Galan had already submitted a written complaint to Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD) and the Spanish FA (RFEF) itself, with his latest actions pursuing the criminal route.
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