Luis Rubiales, the former head of the Spanish soccer federation, has announced his resignation two weeks after a contentious incident at the World Cup final. This event involved Rubiales making inappropriate physical contact with a Spain player, Jenni Hermoso, without her consent.
In a statement posted in Spanish on X, Rubiales affirmed his departure while maintaining his innocence and vowing to defend his honor. He did not issue an apology for the incident. He clarified that his decision to step down was influenced by his suspension by FIFA the previous month. Alongside his resignation from the Spanish soccer federation, Rubiales also resigned from his position as the vice president of UEFA, the governing body of European soccer.
Rubiales contended that the incident had been blown out of proportion and expressed his intent to clear the name of football in Europe. He emphasized the toll this situation had taken on his loved ones. Despite his earlier resolve, it became evident that Rubiales continuing as the head of Spain’s soccer federation was no longer viable.
The incident not only diverted attention from the players’ historic World Cup victory but also led to further controversy when Rubiales claimed that Hermoso had consented to the kiss. Hermoso promptly refuted this claim, stating that she felt assaulted. This prompted the entire World Cup team to declare they would not play again until the federation’s leadership was replaced.
Rubiales’ departure marks a significant development for Spanish soccer, potentially influencing the team’s future endeavors. The controversy surrounding Rubiales adds another turbulent chapter to the World Cup champions’ recent history, following prior concerns raised by players about the team’s environment under coach Jorge Vilda.
Rubiales’ actions and subsequent response have sparked widespread criticism, with prominent figures in both the soccer and basketball communities expressing support for Hermoso and her teammates. While disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales are ongoing, his departure raises questions about his position as a vice president within UEFA.
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