Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales said he will not resign less than a week after he kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso at the World Cup final.
Rubiales explicitly told an emergency general assembly of the federation Friday he refused to leave his post despite numerous calls for his ousting. He continued to claim that the unsolicited kiss he shared with Hermoso was mutual and that he was a victim of a witch hunt led by “false feminists.”
Rubiales’ proclamation was met with cheers from the crowd, including women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda and men’s national team coach Luis de la Fuente, according to the Associated Press.
“The kiss was the same I could give one of my daughters,” Rubiales added, translated from Spanish.
This announcement came less than a day after multiple reports indicated Rubiales intended to resign. He is already facing potential FIFA sanctions after the world soccer governing body opened up a disciplinary investigation into Rubiales on Thursday. He was seen forcibly kissing Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Sunday, an action Hermoso later said she didn’t like. Earlier in the evening, Rubiales was seen grabbing his crotch during a live television broadcast. Both could be in violation of FIFA’s rules on “offensive behavior.”
Rubiales apologized the following day, but calls for his resignation did not waiver. Multiple other agencies and high-ranking officials, including Spanish second deputy prime minister Yolada Díaz, asked that he resign. The Spanish player’s association also called for the federation’s rules on sexual violence to be enforced.
Rubiales was elected president of the Spanish soccer federation in 2018 after a long playing career. What comes next for him will be on FIFA, the Spanish soccer federation and perhaps the Spanish government.