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Spain Football Boss Rubiales Refuses to Quit Over Kiss

The president of the Spanish Soccer Federation, Luis Rubiales, has said he will not resign after kissing a player on the lips after the Women’s World Cup Final. Spanish football chief Rubiales on Friday said he would not resign over his unsolicited kiss on the mouth of player Jenni Hermoso during celebrations after Spain’s Women’s World Cup win last Sunday.
Rubiales was speaking at an emergency meeting of the Spanish football federation’s (RFEF) general assembly in Madrid. “I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign,” Rubiales repeated emphatically at the meeting.

In the hours leading up to the meeting, Spanish media reports had suggested that the 46-year-old Rubiales would use the speech to resign as RFEF president. Instead, he surprised many by claiming that 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 president said 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,” he said.

Hermoso calls for action against Rubiales

However, that’s not how Hermoso saw it. On Wednesday, she issued a joint statement with the Spanish players’ union, FUTPRO, which called for action to be taken against the RFEF president. “We are working to ensure that acts such as those we have seen never go unpunished, that they are sanctioned and that the exemplary measures are adopted to protect women footballers from actions that we believe are unacceptable,” the statement said.

FIFA disciplinary proceedings

On Thursday, football’s global governing body upped the pressure on the Spanish football boss by announcing that its disciplinary committee had opened proceedings against him.  In a statement, FIFA said the incident “may constitute violations of article 13, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the FIFA disciplinary code.” Article 13 deals with the “offensive behavior” of players and officials, particularly in terms of “violating the basic rules of decent conduct” and “behaving in a way that brings the sport into disrepute.”

“FIFA reiterates its unwavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and strongly condemns any behavior to the contrary,” it added. FIFA has not said when the disciplinary committee could be expected to issue a decision on the matter. The incident happened as the Spanish team had assembled on the podium to receive their winner’s medals and congratulations from FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Spain’s Queen Letizia and Rubiales.

Historic feat overshadowed

The RFEF president kissed Hermoso on the cheek, then he grabbed the head of the 33-year-old and pressed a kiss onto her mouth. Minutes earlier, Rubiales, who watched the match from the VIP section of the stadium, was seen in video footage grabbing his crotch in an apparent gesture of victory. In Friday’s speech, Rubiales apologized for making that gesture, saying it had happened in a moment of “euphoria” and was directed towards Spain coach Jorge Vilda on the touchline. The kissing incident has overshadowed Spain’s 1-0 victory over England, which made the country just the second after Germany to have won both the men’s and the women’s World Cups.

Source: DW