Luis Rubiales has refused to resign from his role as President of the Spanish FA, and doubled down on his standpoint in a wild press conference.
Rubiales has been widely criticised after kissing Jenni Hermoso on the mouth in the aftermath of Spain’s first-ever Women’s World Cup victory.
The Spanish FA President grabbed the player’s and kissed her on the podium after the match, and the act has been widely criticised, even before videos emerged of Rubiales grabbing his crotch in celebration in close proximity to the Queen of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter.
In a chaotic press conference on Friday, when he had been expected to resign and the media briefed on his replacement, Rubiales doubled down on his position saying that he would fight to clear his name in court if necessary, and calling out a ‘false feminism’ witchhunt for the criticism.
He loudly told the audience: “No I am not going to resign,” and reiterated himself a number of times, while some of the audience, including controversial Spain women’s head coach Jorge Vilda and Spain’s men’s head coach Luis de la Fuentes applauded his statement.
It was a bizarre press conference. He defended the kiss, saying: “Jenni was the one who lifted me up. I told her to ‘forget about the penalty’ and I said to her ‘a little peck?’ and she said ‘OK’.
“It was a spontaneous kiss. Mutual, euphoric and consensual. That’s the key.
“A consensual ‘peck’ is enough to get me out of here? I will fight until the end.”
In an even more strange turn of phrase, he said that a “social assassination was taking place here” and that “I am ready to be vilified to defend my ideals”.
He added: “I apologise unreservedly but I don’t deserve this manhunt I have been suffering.”
Yesterday, the 46-year-old was being described as “cornered” by those with knowledge of the situation, as large amounts of public criticism have led to three formal complaints over whether his behaviour constituted an infraction of Spain’s sports law, which sanctions against sexist acts.
Fifa also opened their own investigation on Thursday 24 August and released the statement: “The events may constitute violations of article 13 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code. The Fifa disciplinary committee will only provide further information on these disciplinary proceedings once it has issued a final decision on the matter. Fifa reiterates its unwavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and strongly condemns any behaviour to the contrary.”
The sections of the disciplinary code referenced in the Fifa statement cover “offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play”.
A further dimension to the story is that it is now being seen as potentially influencing Spain’s World Cup bid for 2030, which Rubiales has been central to, such is the global publicity.