Embattled Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has resigned, finally bringing some closure to several weeks of controversy that had capped the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Rubiales on Sunday tendered his resignation from both the federation and a position as UEFA vice president, three weeks after he kissed Spanish star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without consent following Spain’s triumph over England in the WWC final.
FIFA had already suspended him, and Hermoso pressed charges of sexual assault and coercion, which led to prosecutors filing a case with Spain’s top court against Rubiales.
“After the rapid suspension 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,” Rubiales said in a statement.
The dispute marked an ugly coda to a highly successful WWC event. Before this resignation, Rubiales had been defiant against Hermoso’s claims, claiming the kiss was mutual and consensual, and he had ignored widespread calls to resign and condemnations from around the world, including from his federation.
As the various charges against him began to mount, Rubiales pivoted without remorse as he vowed to “defend my honorability” and “defend my innocence.”
“Insisting on waiting and clinging … is not going to contribute anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football,” Rubiales said. “Among other things, because there are de facto powers that will prevent my return.”