Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales remained defiant on Friday, saying he had made “some obvious mistakes” but had been treated unfairly over an unwanted kiss with a star player.
Rubiales has come under increasing pressure to resign after kissing Ginni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory in Sydney last month.
He has insisted the act was consensual, a claim Hermoso vehemently rejects, with the player describing it as “an impulsive, sexist and inappropriate act without any consent on my part”.
In a statement widely reported in Spanish media, Rubiales – president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation – criticized the “manufactured campaign” against him while saying he had also received overwhelming support from people in the streets and on social media.
He added: “Last August 20, I made some clear mistakes, and I deeply regret them with all my heart. “It is true that I asked for forgiveness for such mistakes,” Rubiales said in a statement on Friday.
He continued: “I have learned that no matter how great the joy and depth of emotion is, even when winning the World Cup, sports leaders must be required to show exemplary behavior, and this was not the case for me,” adding that he apologizes to the players. And the federation, the fans and anyone who might feel insulted by his actions.
However, Rubiales said the two sides agreed to “friendly embraces” and “mutual friendly gestures”, which took place on stage during the handing over of the World Cup medals.
Rubiales’ statements, his first in days, came after the Spanish government suffered a setback in its attempts to dismiss the president. Rubialis From his position.
Spain’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAD) on Friday agreed to open a case against Rubiales but rejected the government’s argument that his offenses were “very serious”, preventing his immediate ban and forcing ministers to ask the court to do so instead.
In response, Culture and Sports Minister Miquel Isita said in a press conference that he would file a separate complaint with TAD and ask that Rubiales be removed from office until the investigation is resolved.
Rubiales has been suspended by FIFA from all football-related activities for 90 days, but under Spanish law, the government cannot stop him unless TAD considers his offenses “extremely serious”.
The court ruling and Rubiales’ continued challenge mean the storm that has engulfed Spanish football will continue.
Members of the Women’s World Cup-winning team refuse to play until they are sacked. Rubiales’ mother went on a hunger strike this week to support her son and was briefly hospitalized.
Pressure has increased on Rubiales to step down from his position as president of the Spanish Federation after he vehemently refused to do so during a speech he delivered before the Federation’s extraordinary general assembly last Friday, pledging to “struggle until the end.”
Also this week, all 19 of the Spanish Federation’s regional presidents called on Rubiales to resign, while also giving unanimous support to interim president Pedro Rocha, who took office after Rubiales was suspended by FIFA.
There are also questions about Jorge Villeda, Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning coach, with the Spanish Football Federation’s interim director indicating he may not be long in line for the job. Despite the win his tenure was controversial.
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