In a resolute display, Luis Rubiales, the President of the Spanish Soccer Federation (RFEF), has demonstrated his refusal to step down from his leadership role, defying calls for resignation. Addressing the federation’s Extraordinary General Assembly on Friday, Rubiales declared his unwavering determination to persevere.
In a speech marked by defiance, he characterized the controversial kiss incident as “mutual” and criticized what he termed “unjust” campaigns and “fake feminism.” Repeatedly emphasizing his decision, he firmly stated that he would not relinquish his position, speaking for almost 30 minutes.
Rubiales found himself embroiled in criticism after a video surfaced, capturing an unwanted kiss exchanged between him and Jennifer Hermoso. Hermoso is a standout player from Spain’s victorious Women’s World Cup team.
Just to summarize, Luis Rubiales:
-Claimed he was "socially murdered"
-Refused to resign after being widely expected to
-Offered Jorge Vilda a four-year annual wage of €500k
-Said "Did you think I was going to resign over a peck?"
-Claims Jenni Hermoso initiated the kiss pic.twitter.com/6N2P0jbZ4m
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) August 25, 2023
After the initial sparking reactions on social media & Jennifer Hermoso’s response to the incident, Rubiales issued a public apology through an RFEF video release. In his admission, he expressed remorse for his actions while acknowledging the strength of his rapport with Hermoso and other players.
He acknowledged, “I must recognize my error in the interaction that occurred between me and a player—someone I share a great relationship with, just as I do with others.”
Continuing, he added, “I must concede that I made a mistake. In a moment of immense euphoria, void of any ill intent or deceit on either side, the incident transpired. It was an impulsive occurrence, without any malicious intent from either party. I likely erred.”
In response to his apology, Spain’s acting Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, deemed it “insufficient.” Recent reports from ESPN had indicated Rubiales’ intention to step down in the wake of FIFA’s initiation of disciplinary proceedings due to the unsolicited kiss. However, as events unfolded, Rubiales’ stance appears to have taken a different trajectory.
USWNT Star Megan Rapinoe commented on Luis Rubiales’ Controversy
Megan Rapinoe, a prominent forward on the United States women’s national team, has raised her voice against the perceived implications of Luis Rubiales’ unwanted kiss incident. Rpinoe cited a troubling presence of misogyny and sexism within the Spanish soccer federation and the individual in question.
In an interview with The Atlantic, Rapinoe stated, “There was another picture that signals such a deep level of misogyny and sexism in that federation and in that man [Rubiales] at the final whistle, just grabbing his crotch.”
Adding to her remarks, she questioned the state of affairs, expressing, “What kind of upside-down world are we in? On the biggest stage, where you should be celebrating, Jenni has to be physically assaulted by this guy.”
Notably, the Spain squad experienced internal turmoil in the previous year. Several players voiced concerns about the team’s culture under coach Jorge Vilda. Their demands centered on enhanced coaching and preparation to optimize team performance.
Megan Rapinoe spoke out on Spanish Federation president Luis Rubiales' behavior following the World Cup and how they speak to deeper issues within the team.
— espnW (@espnW) August 22, 2023
Rapinoe’s significance in women’s soccer reverberates, given her instrumental role in advocating for equitable prize money between men’s and women’s teams.
She played a pivotal part in securing a new collective bargaining agreement for the USWNT. Furthermore, this results in improved benefits and more balanced travel arrangements. Her stance continues to resonate as she brings attention to the broader issues within the sport.