Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s soccer federation, has announced his resignation following heavy criticism and an investigation into an alleged nonconsensual kiss with Jennifer Hermoso, a player from the World Cup champion women’s national team. The Spanish government had initiated proceedings to remove Rubiales from his position, and FIFA suspended him for 90 days, preventing his participation in upcoming votes for World Cup host countries.
Rubiales had previously denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the kiss was consensual and a result of Hermoso celebrating the team’s victory. However, video evidence contradicts parts of his account. Hermoso initially expressed her discomfort with the incident on an Instagram Live, but later statements from the Spanish Football Federation quoted her as describing it as a “natural gesture of affection and gratitude.” In subsequent statements, Hermoso maintained that Rubiales was lying about the encounter and emphasized her lack of consent.
Rubiales faced criticism from politicians, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. However, he received support from women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda, men’s national team coach Luis de la Fuente, and his mother, Ángeles Béjar, who went on a hunger strike in protest of the treatment of her son.
The controversy surrounding Rubiales’ actions prompted a significant backlash, with all 22 players on the women’s national team and over 50 other Spanish soccer players threatening to boycott if he remained in his position.
With Rubiales’ resignation, Spain’s soccer federation will undergo a leadership change, addressing the concerns raised by the incident.