The Spanish FA have issued an apology for the ‘totally unacceptable’ behaviour of president Luis Rubiales after his kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory over England.
Rubiales has come under fire for his conduct in the aftermath of Spain’s famous triumph as Hermoso stepped up to receive her winners’ medal, with the footballing world left in outcry.
He has already been suspended by FIFA for three months and Mail Sport revealed the governing body is pushing for a 15-year ban from all football – with regional Spanish presidents now pushing for him to resign.
Now the country’s football federation have heaped pressure on Rubiales with a damning statement, led by interim chief Pedro Rocha, calling the saga ’embarrassing’ and one that has ‘tarnished our sport’.
‘The Royal Spanish Football Federation, through its President, Mr. Pedro Rocha, considers it is essential to present the most sincere apologies for the totally unacceptable behavior of its highest institutional representative during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and in the moments that followed.
The Spanish FA have issued an apology for the ‘totally unacceptable’ behaviour of president Luis Rubiales
Rubiales sparked outrage by kissing Jenni Hermoso after Spain’s World Cup final victory in Australia
‘Spanish society is an example of tolerance and civility, in all social and political spheres and has been an example of behavior and sporting decorum, as it has demonstrated for decades in all sporting events in which it has participated.
‘That nobility and international prestige of our society and our sport have been tarnished in recent days by the actions of Mr. Luis Rubiales. The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of football and sport as a whole has been enormous.
‘The RFEF wants to convey to the whole of society and to the whole of world football its deepest regret for what has happened, which has tarnished our national team, our football and our society.
‘We feel deeply sorry for the damage caused and therefore, we must ask for the most sincere apologies and acquire a firm and absolute commitment that facts like these can never happen again.’
The governing body reiterated it had taken action by opening disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales and said his actions do not represent that Spanish football and society – expressing regret for disrupting a celebration of women’s football.
The country’s governing body said Rubiales’ behaviour disrupted what should have been a celebratory moment for Spanish football
‘Both the governing body of the world of football, FIFA, and the bodies responsible for sport in Spain have immediately adopted the appropriate measures, opening disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Rubiales, and in the case of FIFA’s decision, the immediate suspension of his functions as president of the RFEF,’ the statement added.
‘We are particularly saddened and embarrassed by the additional hurt and distress this has caused. The actions of Mr. Rubiales do not represent the values defended by the Spanish Federation, nor the values of Spanish society as a whole, and his actions must be atributed solely and exclusively to him, since he is the only one responsible for his actions before society, before the sporting bodies and, if applicable, before the courts.
‘We are sorry that this incident has disrupted what should have been an ongoing celebration of football both for our national team and that of England’s Lionesses, who were a truly remarkable rival in a thrilling final.’
Rubiales is continuing to fight attempts by the Spanish FA to suspend him and is refusing to step down after insisting the kiss was consensual as he claimed he was the ‘victim of a political and media lynching’.
Spain’s acting Sports and Culture Minister Miquel Iceta has called for the country’s Sports Administrative Tribunal to suspend the 46-year-old
Hermoso has since insisted the kiss was not consensual, and dozens of Spanish players have gone on strike, with almost all of the coaching staff resigning in protest.
In Spain, the Sports Administrative Tribunal (TAD) has opened a case against the 46-year-old, but it is for ‘serious’, rather than ‘very serious’ misconduct.
Rubiales cannot be suspended while the investigation is ongoing, but Sports and Culture Minister Miquel Iceta last week hit out at the president for ‘abusing his authority’ and damaging the sport’s image.
The president hit back, saying: ‘I am the victim of an unprecedented political and media lynching.
‘I have been deliberately sidelined. But I have presented all the relevant images that show the facts. That evidence will ignore opinions and clear my name.’
Spain manager Luis De La Fuente has withdrawn his support for Rubiales and apologised after being seen applauding his vow to not resign
He also claimed that he was ‘advancing the feminist cause’ and that his case would be important for ‘real victims of aggression.’
Rubiales has already been condemned by a number of voices – including Spain manager Luis de le Fuente, who initially backing him before apologising and calling his support ‘unjustifiable’.
The Spanish men’s football team also weighed in with criticism for Rubiales, rejecting his ‘unacceptable behaviour’ in a group statement.
‘We want to reject what we consider unacceptable behaviour on the part of Mr. Rubiales, who has not lived up to the institution he represents.
‘We place ourselves firmly and clearly on the side of the values that sport represents. Spanish football must be an engine of respect, inspiration, inclusion and diversity and must set an example with its conduct both on and off the field.’