Spain’s soccer chief Luis Rubiales quits in kiss scandal

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Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales resigned from his post on Sunday, bringing an end to a three-week scandal surrounding allegations that he had given an unsolicited kiss to a player on the women’s national team during their celebration of the World Cup victory last month.

Rubiales announced his resignation through a statement in which he acknowledged that his position had become untenable. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) later confirmed that he had sent a resignation letter to acting president Pedro Rocha.

The kiss that Rubiales planted on player Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup win in Sydney on August 20 had sparked outrage among players, government officials, and many in Spanish society. It had also raised questions about sexism in sports.

Rubiales’ decision to step down came after facing further challenges to his position in recent days. A Spanish prosecutor filed a complaint with the High Court on Friday, accusing Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion. The complaint described how Rubiales had kissed Hermoso on the mouth “without her consent” while holding her head with both hands after Spain’s victory over England in the World Cup.

Rubiales had previously maintained that the kiss was mutual and consensual and had resisted calls from players, government officials, and others to resign.

In addition to his resignation, Rubiales had been suspended for three months from all football activities by FIFA, pending an investigation by the world governing body of soccer into his actions.

In his resignation statement, Rubiales acknowledged that with FIFA’s swift suspension and other proceedings against him, it was evident he could not return to his position. He noted that insisting on waiting and clinging to power would not be beneficial to the Federation or Spanish football, especially considering the de facto powers that would hinder his return.

 

 

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