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Spanish football chief Rubiales resigns amid World Cup kiss scandal

The Spanish football community was rocked by a scandal that marred Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup, leading to the resignation of Spanish Football Federation President – Luis Rubiales.

The controversy arose after allegations that Rubiales had given an unsolicited kiss to a player on the Women’s World Cup team just last month.

Rubiales made the announcement of his resignation through a statement on Sunday, citing the untenable nature of his position as the primary reason. Subsequently, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed that he had submitted a resignation letter to acting president Pedro Rocha.

The gravity of the situation escalated when a Spanish prosecutor filed a complaint with the High Court against Rubiales, for sexual assault and coercion related to the kiss he planted on the lips of Jenni Hermoso.

FIFA – the world governing body of football – further compounded Rubiales’ troubles by suspending him for three months from all football activities, pending an investigation into his actions following Spain’s World Cup victory in Sydney on August 20th.

In his resignation statement, Rubiales conceded: “After the rapid suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of the proceedings opened against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position.”

He expressed his belief that prolonging the matter would be detrimental to both the Federation and Spanish football, hinting at influential forces preventing his comeback.

A former player himself and head of Spain’s main players’ union, Rubiales had held the presidency since 2018. His departure also entailed relinquishing his role as vice president of the European football body UEFA.

Throughout the controversy, Rubiales maintained that the kiss was consensual; despite widespread outrage among players and broader Spanish society. He continued to defend his version of events, asserting: “I have faith in the truth, and I am going to do everything in my power to make it prevail.”

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