MADRID: Luis Rubiales has accepted the inevitable and resigned as president of the Spanish football federation and as a vice-president of Europe’s UEFA over the scandal concerning his unsolicited kiss of Jenni Hermoso in the Women’s World Cup victory celebration.
Rubiales announced his resignation in a statement in which he said his position had become untenable.
Players, government officials and FIFA president Gianni Infantino had been among critics of Rubiales who, on Friday, had become the subject of a legal complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion.
Rubiales has said the kiss was mutual and consensual but is under a 90-day suspension from all football activity pending the outcome of an investigation by the ethics committee of world governing body FIFA.
In a statement, Rubiales said: “After the rapid suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of the proceedings opened against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position.
“Insisting on waiting and clinging … is not going to contribute anything positive, neither to the Federation nor to Spanish football. Among other things, because there are de facto powers that will prevent my return.”
Hermoso, Spain’s all-time top scorer with 51 goals, currently plays at Mexican top-tier side Pachuca, where she moved in June 2022 after a second spell at Barcelona.
Spanish government ministers, who had been solidly behind Hermoso and others calling for Rubiales to go, celebrated his departure.
Acting Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said: “The feminist country is advancing faster and faster. The transformation and improvement of our lives is inevitable. We are with you, Jenni, and with all women.”
Rubiales remained defiant even in his departure.
A personal message alongside his resignation announcement said: “I will defend my honour. I will defend my innocence. I have faith in the future. I have faith in the truth.”