The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is calling on suspended president Luis Rubiales to resign after his controversial and lewd celebrations following the country’s World Cup victory sparked international backlash.
“After the latest developments and the unacceptable behavior that has caused great damage to the image of Spanish soccer, the presidents request that Luis Rubiales resign immediately as president of the RFEF,” a committee of regional presidents that make up RFEF said in a statement on Monday following an emergency meeting.
The announcement comes days after Rubiales was suspended for at least 90 days by FIFA for his refusal to resign after giving Spain’s midfielder Jenni Hermoso an unsolicited kiss on the lips during the World Cup trophy ceremony. Rubiales said the kiss was “mutual and consensual,” but Hermoso refuted his claims and said she’s “a victim of assault.”
JENNI HERMOSO:Spanish star says she’s ‘victim of assault,’ entire national team refuses to play
The committee of regional presidents declared their “unanimous support” for RFEF Vice President Pedro Rocha, who was tapped as interim president following Rubiales’ FIFA suspension, in hopes of carrying out a “deep and imminent organic restructuring in strategic positions of the Federation to give way to a new stage of management in Spanish football,” the statement added.
Hermoso and more than 80 current and former Spanish players, including Spain’s entire 2023 World Cup championship team, signed a statement refusing to play for the national team until Rubiales is removed.
Rubiales faced backlash for not only kissing Hermoso without consent, but for grabbing his crotch after Spain’s 1-0 World Cup victory over England, while standing near Queen Letizia of Spain and 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofía. He apologized for the lewd gesture he did in front of the royal Spanish family, but maintained no wrongdoing in kissing Hermoso. He defiantly vowed to “fight to the end.”
FIFA opened a disciplinary case against Rubiales on Thursday.
Earlier Monday, Rubiales’ mother Ángeles Béjar started a hunger strike and vowed to remain in a church “night and day” in Spain until the “inhumane hounding” of her son ends.
Contributing: The Associated Press