Embattled President of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, has resigned from his position following widespread criticism for kissing Spain forward Jenni Hermoso after the 2023 Women’s World Cup final.
Hermoso, 33, said the kiss during the presentation ceremony after Spain beat England in Sydney was not consensual.
She filed a legal complaint on Tuesday.
“I cannot continue my work,” Rubiales said as he announced his intention to resign on the television programme ‘Piers Morgan Uncensored’ on Sunday.
He has also stepped down as vice president of Union of European Football Associations’ executive committee.
“After being suspended by FIFA, and the other proceedings against me, it’s evident I can’t return to the position,” Rubiales said in a statement. “Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football.”
He added that it was a huge privilege to helm RFEF for more than five years and said he didn’t want Spanish soccer to be affected by the situation. “I make this decision after assuring that my departure will contribute to the stability that will allow Europe and Africa to continue toward that dream of 2030, to allow that we can bring to us the biggest event in the world,” he said.
He addressed the controversy, saying that “I will do anything in my power that truth wins” for his family and others who have “suffered this unmeasured persecution, along with falsehoods.”
He concluded by thanking the soccer federation and others involved in the game, offering them a “strong hug.”
Rubiales’ resignation is the arguably inevitable culmination of a prolonged saga that has overshadowed Spain’s historic first women’s World Cup victory. It began after Spain defeated England 1-0, during the medals ceremony, where Rubiales grabbed Hermoso, kissed her cheeks, and then on the lips.
In an Instagram Live video later, Hermoso and her teammates could be heard discussing the kiss and expressing their distaste. Hermoso herself said, “Hey, but I didn’t like that.”