Luis Rubiales, once a prominent figure in Spanish football, resigned on September 10 under immense public and legal pressure. This decision came in the wake of a series of controversies that began with his inappropriate behavior during Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup in August in Sydney, Australia.
Just days before his resignation, Spanish state prosecutors formally charged him with sexual assault and coercion. This legal development followed an accusation by Hermoso, who firmly denied Rubiales’ claims that the kiss they shared was a consensual act of celebration. Hermoso also revealed that there were attempts by the federation to pressure her and her family into supporting Rubiales.
FIFA swiftly suspended Rubiales after he kissed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent during a globally televised ceremony. This incident not only tarnished Rubiales’ reputation but also sparked debates beyond Spain’s borders, raising important questions about consent, sexism, and abuse of power in the sports world.
In the aftermath of this scandal, Spain’s Secretary of State for Sport, Víctor Francos, emphasized that the resignation of Luis Rubiales was in line with the widespread demand of Spanish society. The overwhelming public opinion favored Rubiales’ departure, with the majority of fans, players, and politicians condemning the act as an abuse of power and a sexist gesture, as reported by the Associated Press.
The former head of the Spanish soccer federation, facing disgrace, communicated his resignation decision to Pedro Rocha, the interim president of the federation. The federation subsequently issued a formal announcement confirming his resignation and mentioning upcoming elections for a new president.
Rubiales’ resignation came at a critical juncture as Spain, in collaboration with Portugal, Morocco, and possibly Ukraine, was bidding to host the 2030 Men’s World Cup. Given the potential damage to Spain’s reputation, Rubiales also stepped down from his role as UEFA vice president.
Adding to the fallout, Spain’s women’s football league is currently on strike, demanding improved wages and further shedding light on the issues plaguing Spanish soccer. Jenni Hermoso, the central figure in this controversy, now represents the Mexican club Pachuca after a successful career in Europe.