According to media reports, Luis Rubiales apparently wants to resign as president of the Spanish football association RFEF because of the kissing scandal at the women's World Cup final.
He informed his team that he would make his decision public on Friday, wrote the sports newspapers "Marca", "Mundo Deportivo", "AS", "Sport" and other media unanimously. There was initially no official confirmation.
The 46-year-old kissed the player Jennifer Hermoso on the mouth without being asked at the award ceremony for the Spanish soccer world champions in Australia last Sunday. Shortly thereafter, Hermoso said in a video that she was uncomfortable with the kiss. "But what should I do," she added. A storm of indignation broke out and many in Spain called for Rubiales' resignation.
Prime Minister Sánchez: Behavior "unacceptable"
He will explain this on Friday at an extraordinary general assembly of the Spanish football association RFEF, the media reported. At the meeting, the consequences of the encroaching behavior of the head of the association should be discussed. Spanish media had previously speculated that members of the General Assembly could back Rubiales. In this case, the government had already announced that it would intervene. Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recently described Rubiales' behavior as "unacceptable".
According to media reports, the decision to resign was triggered by the opening of disciplinary proceedings by the world football association FIFA. "FIFA reaffirms its unconditional commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and therefore strongly condemns any behavior to the contrary," the organization said on Thursday. The Disciplinary Committee is investigating a violation of Article 13 of its own regulations, which is headed "Offending behavior and violations of the principles of fair play". Rubiales is also Vice-President of the European Football Union UEFA.
The Spanish government had also exerted pressure. "Of course we're waiting for something to happen. If that's not the case, the government will act," said Presidential Minister Félix Bolaños. After the incident in Sydney, criticism and outrage had grown in recent days, forcing the RFEF to act. "What we have seen is unacceptable," said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The Spanish players' union FutPro called for "exemplary measures". Such acts should "never go unpunished," the union said, also quoting Hermoso. "My union FutPro, in coordination with my agency TMJ, takes care of the defense of my interests and is the interlocutor in this matter," said the world champion accordingly.
Rubiales had - with a delay - admitted a mistake on Monday. He kissed Hermoso on the mouth "spontaneously" and "without any bad intentions or bad will". The incident had fueled the discussion about abusive behavior in football again.
US star Megan Rapinoe spoke of a large "extent of misogyny and sexism in this association and in this man". The 38-year-old said in an interview to the portal "The Athletic": "What kind of upside-down world do we actually live in? On the biggest stage where you should celebrate, Jenni (Hermoso) has to be physically attacked by this guy." Now Rubiales is apparently taking the consequences.