A defiant Luis Rubiales has said he will not resign as president of the Spanish football federation despite facing widespread criticism and disciplinary proceedings over his behaviour at last Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final.
The 46-year-old kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medals presentation after Spain’s victory over England in Sydney.
He had earlier grabbed his crotch in celebration while stood metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter in the stadium’s VIP area.
Football’s world governing body FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday over his conduct, but he told an extraordinary general assembly of Spain’s football federation, the RFEF, on Friday, that he would not step down.
“I will not resign,” he said multiple times.
“I apologise for my mistakes. I’m going to continue fighting as my parents and my coaches taught me. Those who know me, know that we are going to get to the end.”
Rubiales issued an apology via video message on Monday, but Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez described that as “insufficient”.
Hermoso’s interests in the case are being managed by the FUTPRO union, which expressed its “firm and resounding condemnation” for behaviour “which violates the dignity of women” in its own statement issued on Wednesday.
Rubiales is a member of UEFA’s ruling executive committee and a vice-president of European football’s governing body, and is also leading a Spanish bid to co-host the 2030 men’s World Cup finals. FIFA Congress is expected to appoint the hosts of the centenary tournament late next year.
FIFA, in opening proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday, said it remained committed to “respecting the integrity of all individuals, and strongly condemns any behaviour to the contrary”.
It said Rubiales’ conduct may constitute violations of article 13 paragraphs one and two of the FIFA disciplinary code.
That section of the code covers “offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play”.
The code cites examples of behaviour which could lead to disciplinary measures being taken, including “insulting a natural or legal person in any way, especially by using offensive gestures, signs or language” and “behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute”.
Spain’s second deputy prime minister, Yolanda Diaz, said in a post on X that the events at Friday’s General Assembly had been “unacceptable” and said the government “must act and take urgent measures”.
“Impunity for macho actions is over. Rubiales cannot continue in office,” her post concluded.