Spanish soccer federation head after ‘surprise forced kiss’ ends up white-flagging

Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales (pictured) was at the center of a global controversy when he grabbed and kissed his country’s player Henrique Hermoso on the face at the awards ceremony after Spain won the FIFA Women’s World Cup on March 20. Rubiales is stepping down from his post, nearly 20 days after he was caught up in the “forced surprise kiss” scandal.

“I have submitted my resignation to the current acting president of the Spanish Football Federation,” Rubiales said in a statement released on Nov. 11. He also offered his position as UEFA vice president.

He has steadfastly maintained his “I will not resign” stance in the face of global outcry over the past few weeks. Rubiales’ defense of the controversial situation was that it was “done with Hermoso’s consent,” which Hermoso immediately denied. The association, which tried to defend the behavior as “mutually agreed upon,” was also criticized by the public.

The fallout from the controversy has led to a crisis in Spanish soccer. The Spanish government and political circles also pressured the federation, calling for Rubiales’ resignation for inappropriate behavior. Around 80 Spanish women’s national team players said they would not play for the national team unless the president resigned following the controversy. Rubiales was suspended by FIFA for 90 days.

While most of the women’s national team’s coaching staff resigned in the wake of the controversy, winning coach Jorge Bilda, who had supported Rubiales, was recently sacked and eventually threw in the towel as Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation into possible sexual misconduct.

“Hermoso’s accusations against Rubiales could lead to criminal charges,” said Sky Sports, which reported 안전놀이터 that “under the sexual consent law passed last year, those found guilty of sexual assault could be fined or jailed for one to four years.”

Rubiales stepped down but maintained his position that Hermoso had consented to the behavior, saying he was “committed to ensuring that the truth prevails.”

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