Videos by OutKick
The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation refuses to back down after facing backlash for his behavior during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.
Luis Rubiales kissed striker Jennifer Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England. While he initially apologized, the soccer exec is now doubling down — calling the kiss mutual and consensual.
“My desire in that moment was exactly the same as if I’d have been kissing one of my daughters,” Rubiales said Friday, according to ESPN. “No more or less. Everybody understands that. It was a spontaneous kiss, mutual, euphoric, and consensual.”
Rubiales greeted Hermoso on the podium by grabbing her head in his hands and kissing her on the lips.
“In the moment that Jenni arrived, she lifted me up off the ground. We almost fell over. We hugged. I said, ‘Forget about the penalty, you’ve been fantastic, we wouldn’t have won the World Cup without you,'” Rubiales recalled. “She said: ‘You’re great.’ I said ‘A kiss?’ and she said: ‘Yes.'”
And now, he’s painting himself as the victim.
“Justice isn’t being done here,” Rubiales said. “This is a social assassination of me, they’re trying to kill me.”
The Spanish soccer federation first responded to the scandal by releasing a statement in which Hermoso downplayed Rubiales’ actions. Later, though, Relevo.com reported that the federation coerced her into making the statement.
And on Friday, federation vice president Rafael del Amo announced he was stepping down. Others also later resigned.
Luis Rubiales Faces Mounting Pressure Vacate His Office
Spanish government officials, players’ unions, Spain’s women players, and even voices from inside men’s soccer have all called for Rubiales‘ ousting.
“Impunity for macho actions is over,” Spain’s acting Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz said. “Rubiales cannot continue in office.”
And several Spanish news outlets reported Thursday the 46-year-old would step down. But in an emergency federation meeting Friday, Rubiales said those reports weren’t true.
“I won’t resign,” he declared four times — also claiming he was a victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists.”
The problem, though, is Hermoso didn’t seem to share his account of the incident.
“I didn’t like it, but what can I do?” she said on a social media livestream Sunday.
Later, her players’ union issued a statement saying it would defend her interests and ensure that Rubiales’ act “does not go unpunished.”
Aitana Bonmatí, the Spain midfielder, said on X: “There are limits that you cannot cross and we cannot tolerate this. We are with our teammate.”
The president of Spain’s women’s league, Beatriz Álvarez, told Spanish state broadcaster RTVE that Rubiales’ “ego is above his dignity.”
“What surprises and scandalizes me are his words,” Álvarez said. “Every time he speaks, he shows what kind of person he really is.”
A History of Inappropriate Behavior
“False feminist” or not, most would agree it’s not OK for a boss to give his employee a big, congratulatory smooch on the lips.
Carrying them, rear-end up, over your shoulder probably isn’t human resources approved, either.
And even if these women do “consent,” they certainly could be doing so out of fear of retaliation.
But getting caught on camera grabbing your crotch is probably not great for Rubiales’ case, either.
But now his fate is up for FIFA to decide.
The governing body of soccer opened a case against Rubiales on Thursday. The FIFA disciplinary committee will decide if Rubiales violated its code relating to “the basic rules of decent conduct” or behaved “in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.”
Rubiales could face sanctions ranging from warnings and fines to suspensions from the sport. FIFA gave no timetable for the ruling.
Luis Rubiales led the Spanish players’ union for eight years before taking over as federation president in 2018. He is currently heading the UEFA-backed bid for Spain to hose the men’s World Cup in 2030.