KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The new interim leadership of the Spanish football federation has issued an abject and lengthy apology for the behaviour of suspended president Luis Rubiales in the presentation ceremony at the Women’s World Cup Final.
Rubiales, for all the condemnation heaped on him from all directions at home and abroad for kissing star player Jennifer Hermoso, has refused to resign and insisted that he has been the victim of a witch hunt.
The federation has sought now to make clear that Rubiales is out on his own in reacting angrily to the suspension imposed by world federation FIFA which bars him from his duties in Spain and his vice-presidency of European governing body UEFA.
The RFEF statement said:
The Royal Spanish Football Federation, through its President, Mr. Pedro Rocha, considers it is essenJal
to present the most sincere apologies to the football institutions (FIFA, UEFA, FAs), the players,
especially the players of the Spanish National Football Team and the English NaJonal Football Team,
all stakeholders involved in football and the fans around the world, for the totally unacceptable
behavior of its highest institutional representaJve during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup
2023 and in the moments that followed.
Those actions do not reflect at all the values of the whole Spanish society, its institutions, its
representaJves, its athletes and the leaders of Spanish sport. Spanish society is an example of
tolerance and civility, in all social and political spheres and has been an example of behavior and
sporJng decorum, as it has demonstrated for decades in all sporting events in which it has participated.
That nobility and international prestige of our society and our sport have been tarnished in recent days
by the actions of Mr. Luis Rubiales.
The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of
football and sport as a whole has been enormous.
The RFEF wants to convey to the whole of society and to the whole of world football its deepest regret
for what has happened, which has tarnished our national team, our football and our society.
We feel deeply sorry for the damage caused and therefore, we must ask for the most sincere apologies and acquire a firm and absolute commitment that facts like these can never happen again.
Both the governing body of the world of football, FIFA, and the bodies responsible for sport in Spain
have immediately adopted the appropriate measures, opening disciplinary proceedings against Mr.
Rubiales, and in the case of FIFA’s decision, the immediate suspension of his funcJons as president of
The RFEF is providing all the documentary and administrative support required by both
disciplinary bodies in order to have a definitive resoluJon as soon as possible to repair the damage
Winning the World Cup was one of the proudest moments in the history of the Spanish Federation and
one of the most important moments of Spanish sport and of women’s football. The actions of Mr.
Rubiales both at that moment and in the following hours are not acceptable under any circumstances
and for this reason the RFEF immediately withdrew from its website all those inappropriate and
meaningless communications that did not value what was achieved by the National Team and did not
take into account the statements of the player about these facts.
To be clear, this position was that of Mr. Rubiales, not that of the RFEF. We are particularly saddened
and embarrassed by the additional hurt and distress this has caused. The actions of Mr. Rubiales do
not represent the values defended by the Spanish Federation, nor the values of Spanish society as a
whole, and his actions must be attributed solely and exclusively to him, since he is the only one
responsible for his actions before society, before the sporting bodies and, if applicable, before the
We are sorry that this incident has disrupted what should have been an ongoing celebration of football
both for our national team and that of England’s Lionesses, who were a truly remarkable rival in a
On Monday 28 August 2023, the RFEF issued a statement in which the Presidents of the Regional
Federations unanimously demanded the resignation of Mr. Rubiales as RFEF President for his improper
A review of the current management structures of the organization was also announced and
this remains underway.
In this regard, in order to protect Spanish football and ensure that such behavior is not repeated, a
thorough investigation of the acJons taken by Mr. Rubiales was immediately launched. At the same
time, all of the presidents of the member federations of the RFEF have commi\ed to carrying out a
thorough review of all policies and procedures of the organization. They firmly and unanimously
commit to have in the coming days a whole set of actions to improve the governance of the Spanish
Football federation and to repair, as far as possible, the damage caused.
We have privately sent to the relevant authoriJes and institutions this statement which we now make
Finally, we want to once more congratulate our national team for their historic win, recognizing the
impact and legacy that their victory will have in the future of Spanish football.
We are convinced that millions of people of all ages were inspired by their spirit, and we cannot be prouder of the way they have conducted themselves, both on and off the pitch. In due course, it is our intention to give the spotlight back to them and to celebrate their achievement in the way that they deserve — Mr. Pedro Rocha President of the RFEF.