Barcelona, Spain (AFP) – The president of the Spanish Football Federation is facing an emergency meeting of its general assembly on Friday amid media reports that he will tender his resignation after fuss for kissing Women’s World Cup champion.
Luis Rubiales is expected to appear before representatives of regional federations, clubs, players, coaches and referees in Madrid at noon local time, and local media say he is stepping down.
The federation declined to comment on repeated requests from the Associated Press to confirm Rubiales’ decision to leave, which was reported late Thursday.
Rubiales, 46, has been under immense pressure to leave his position since he grabbed player Jenny Hermoso and kissed her on the lips without her consent during the awards ceremony that followed. Spain beat England 1-0 Sunday in Sydney, Australia.
FIFA, football’s global governing body and organizer of the Women’s World Cup, Opening a disciplinary case against him on Thursday. Its disciplinary committee was tasked with examining whether Rubiales had breached its rules relating to the “fundamental rules of proper behaviour” and “behaved in a manner discrediting the sport of football and/or FIFA”.
The move by FIFA came after acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Rubiales’ attempt to apologize, which came after he had initially insulted his critics, was unconvincing and that “He must continue to take more steps.” to hold him accountable.
Spain’s Supreme Council of Sport, the country’s sports governing body, has vowed it will move quickly to look into the various formal complaints lodged against Rubiales to see if he has breached Spanish sports law or the federation’s code of conduct that penalizes sexual acts. If that is the case, Rubiales will face being declared ineligible to take office by the Administrative Tribunal for Sport of Spain.
As if the forced kiss weren’t enough, he grabbed Rubiales shortly before his genitalia in an obscene victory gesture from the VIP section with Spain’s Queen Letizia and 16-year-old Princess Sofia nearby.
The combination of the gesture and the unwanted kiss made Rubiales a national embarrassment after his behavior was broadcast to a global audience, marring the massive achievement of the women who played for Spain.
“I didn’t like it, but what can I do?” Hermoso, the 33-year-old striker who was a key player in Spain’s title win, said on social media. About the kiss during the locker room celebration immediately after the accident.
The first attempt to respond to the scandal was a statement issued in Hermoso’s name downplaying the incident. Later, a local media report by sports website Relevo.com stated that the union forced her to make the statement. The federation denied this to the Associated Press.
On Wednesday Hermoso issued a statement through her players association saying he would speak for her. The union said it would do everything it could to ensure the kiss “does not go unpunished”.
Rubiales has received no public support from any major sports figure, and united political parties of the left and right are calling for him to resign.
AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
AP Women’s World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/fifa-womens-world-cup
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