Spanish Football Federation Leaders Call for Luis Rubiales’ Resignation
Pressure mounts after controversial incident at Women’s World Cup
Regional leaders of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have demanded the immediate resignation of President Luis Rubiales following a highly criticized incident involving player Jenni Hermoso. Rubiales, who is 46 years old, is facing widespread backlash after kissing Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final.
Hermoso, who is 33, has stated that the kiss was non-consensual. Spanish prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation to determine if the incident constitutes a sexual assault.
In response to the controversy, Rubiales’ mother, Angeles Bejar, staged a hunger strike in a Spanish church to protest the treatment of her son. Additionally, feminist groups organized protests in Madrid to show support for Hermoso and condemn Rubiales.
Rubiales Suspended by Fifa
Fifa, the governing body of world football, suspended Rubiales on Saturday following his insistence that he would not resign and his claim that the kiss was mutual and consensual. As a result of the suspension, Rubiales will not be attending the upcoming Champions League draw or the Uefa executive committee meeting.
RFEF Regional Leaders Demand Resignation
During an extraordinary meeting, the regional presidents of the RFEF called for Rubiales’ immediate resignation due to the damaging effect of recent events on Spanish football’s image. They also voiced unanimous support for Pedro Rocha, the interim RFEF chief, and requested an overhaul of the federation’s management.
Furthermore, the regional presidents withdrew a statement previously made that requested Uefa to strip Spanish clubs, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, of their European places due to government interference in the Rubiales saga. Uefa had already rejected this request.
Investigation Led by Fifa
Uefa, in contact with Fifa, has deferred to the world governing body to lead the investigation into the incident, as it occurred at a Fifa event. The suspension imposed by Fifa applies globally.
Legal Action and Hunger Strike
In response to the situation, Spain’s top criminal court has initiated an investigation to determine the legal implications of Hermoso’s statements. Legal experts will offer Hermoso the option of filing a complaint as a victim of an alleged sexual assault.
Amidst the turmoil, Rubiales’ mother, Angeles Bejar, has begun a hunger strike in a church in her son’s hometown. She claims that her son is being unfairly hunted and subjected to inhumane treatment.
Call for Change and Better Protection
Spain’s acting labour minister, Yolanda Diaz, highlighted the systemic nature of male chauvinism in the country and called for a change in social attitudes. She emphasized the need for better protection of victims of sexual harassment and violence.
The situation has escalated rapidly, starting with the controversial incident and leading to calls for Rubiales’ resignation, legal proceedings, protests, and a hunger strike. The outcome of these developments remains uncertain.