Spanish Football Head Rubiales Resigns Amid Non-Consensual Kiss Scandal with Player Hermoso

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Amidst sharp criticism for kissing Jenni Hermoso, Spain’s notable forward in the Women’s World Cup final presentation ceremony, Luis Rubiales has stepped down as the president of the Spanish Football Federation. Hermoso, 33, held that the unexpected kiss after Spain’s victorious game against England was non-consensual, pushing her to file a legal complaint against Rubiales.

Rubiales expressed his resignation in a statement, which he submitted to the federation’s acting president, Pedro Rocha. He noted his inability to carry on his work. This development adds to his previous resignation from his role as vice-president of Uefa’s executive committee. The controversy surrounding the kiss greatly affected Spanish football and cast a dark shadow over Spain’s World Cup win, ostracizing Rubiales as he disregarded incessant appeals to resign.

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Spain’s high court received a complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion, which followed Hermoso’s testimony – filed by a prosecutor. Rubiales maintained that the kiss was “mutual and “consensual”, a claim that led to his provisional suspension by Fifa, Football’s world governing body. As he pointed out, his return to his position was clearly unattainable due to the suspension and the ongoing legal proceedings against him.

In his statement, Rubiales conveyed his hopes for his departure to amplify Spain’s collective bid with Morocco and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup. Reiterating his faith in truth, he declared his determination to triumph. Amidst the excessive backlash, he voiced his concern for his family and close ones who suffered the repercussions of his actions and the swirling lies.

The indignant response to Rubiales’ actions led 81 Spain players, including all the 23 World Cup victors, to assert they would refrain from playing for the national team while he held his position. Amidst the engulfing scandal, Jorge Vilda, a close ally of Rubiales and manager of the World Cup-winning team, was dismissed and replaced by Montse Tome. The scandal incited outrage among the public, including politicians, footballers, celebrities, and protesters, who demanded Rubiales’ immediate resignation.

The ensuing saga extended to Hermoso’s home ground at the Liga MX women’s league in Mexico, where she received overwhelming support from her domestic club, Pachuca, and its fans. Following a victory against Pumas, Hermoso presented an unveiled mural celebrating her World Cup achievements on the Hidalgo Stadium walls and was presented with a framed jersey bearing her number 10 on it.

As it stands, Rubiales faces pending charges as the court is set to make its formal charges against him. His crude behavior, extended beyond the kiss granted the sensitivity of the situation, saw him exhibiting inappropriate conduct in the company of Queen Letizia and her daughter. This complaint will be assessed by a high court judge who will determine the course of the case – whether to accept or archive the request. If the case is accepted, a possible punishment, as defined by Spanish law, could range from a fine to four years in prison.

Spain’s national sports tribunal ruled Rubiales as having committed a “serious offence” by kissing Hermoso. However, they did not extend the misconduct to a “very serious offence”, as the government had requested, a decision which would have led to his suspension. Despite the severity of his wrongful actions, Rubiales maintained a defiant stance in an emergency meeting. The ongoing crisis drew sharp responses from the nation, sports community, and even the international scene.

The scandal sparked a national uproar with major influencers from the sports field as well as Spain’s men’s national team rebuking Rubiales’ conduct. The climactic incident led to Hermoso filing a complaint against Rubiales with Spain’s national prosecutor’s office, with the office later forwarding her complaint to the high court. In light of the ongoing turmoil, Rubiales finally announced his resignation.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.