Luis Rubiales resigns as Spanish football president after scandal, World Cup kiss

FIFA had already suspended Luis Rubiales for 90 days, and Jenni Hermoso filed an official complaint with Spanish prosecutors alleging sexual assault

Luis Rubiales is out.

Rubiales officially stepped down from his post as the president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) on Sunday. Rubiales also resigned as UEFA’s vice president.

The resignations come in the wake of the Spanish women’s national team’s World Cup win earlier this summer and a sexual assault investigation into Rubiales — who forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup final.

“After the suspension from FIFA, plus all the other proceedings opened against me, it’s evident that I cannot go back to my position,” he said in a letter to the federation, in part, via DAZN’s Alex Ibaceta. “Insisting on waiting and holding on will not contribute anything positive, not to the federation nor to Spanish football.”

Rubiales, 46, also said in an interview on "Piers Morgan Uncensored" on Sunday that he was stepping down.

“[My father], my daughters — I spoke with them. They know it’s not a question about me,” Rubiales said in the interview with Morgan, via The Washington Post. “Some friends very close to me say, ‘Luis, you have to focus on your dignity and to continue your life because you are going to damage people you love.’ ... In this situation now, this is the thing that I have to do.”

Shortly after Spain beat England to win its first Women’s World Cup championship last month in Australia, Rubiales forcibly kissed Hermoso on the lips. He was also seen grabbing his crotch after the final whistle blew.

Rubiales later apologized for his actions, but said he thought the kiss with Hermoso was mutual and not malicious. Hermoso has said the kiss was nonconsensual.

Luis Rubiales forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso while celebrating their Women’s World Cup win earlier this summer.
Luis Rubiales forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso while celebrating their Women’s World Cup win earlier this summer. (Juan Medina/Reuters)

Despite a large outcry against him — the entire Spanish women’s team and at least one men’s national team player said they wouldn’t play again until he resigned, and there were widespread protests throughout the country — Rubiales insisted in an emergency federation session he wouldn’t step down from his post. The RFEF also claimed Hermoso lied and did consent to the kiss. Hermoso has since filed an official complaint with Spanish prosecutors, too.

FIFA later suspended Rubiales for 90 days after it launched an investigation into him. The RFEF then fired head women’s manager Jorge Vilda earlier this month, hours after it apologized for “the inappropriate conduct” of Rubiales. Vilda was the subject of a mass resignation by Spanish women’s soccer players last year, and many players ignored him during their post-match celebrations after winning the World Cup.

While it took some time to get there, the Spanish women's national team finally got its wish. The RFEF will be under new leadership.