Sports

Spanish Football chief refuses to resign over ‘kissing’ female player

Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales (R) appeared kissing Spain's forward Jennifer Hermoso after the 2023 Women's World Cup final football match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia in Sydney on August 20, 2023. PHOTO/AFP

Madrid, (AFP): Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales refused to resign on Friday after a week of heavy criticism for his unsolicited kiss on the lips of player Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s Women’s World Cup triumph.

“I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign,” shouted Rubiales at an emergency meeting of the football federation.

“A consensual ‘peck’ is enough to get me out of here? I will fight until the end,” he added.

Rubiales, 46, was expected to step down as president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after government ministers and figures within sport demanded his resignation and world football’s governing body FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against him.

He said the pressure he has received this week from politicians and clubs was an attempt “to publicly assassinate me” and said he would defend himself by “taking action” against those people.

The RFEF chief claimed his kiss on Hermoso’s lips was consensual and done in the same spirit as kissing his child.

“It was a spontaneous kiss, mutual, euphoric, and consensual,” said Rubiales.

The president did apologise for grabbing his crotch during the celebrations of the 1-0 win against England in the final while standing next to Spanish Queen Letizia.

“I want to say sorry for the deeds that happened in a moment of euphoria, I grabbed that part of my body and did so looking at Jorge Vilda (the coach),” Rubiales said.

“I was so emotional, I lost control and I took my hands there.”

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