Luis Rubiales has chosen to defend his actions during the Women’s World Cup final and has firmly declined stepping down as the president of the Spanish Football Association.
The 46-year-old has faced widespread criticism for kissing forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s 1-0 triumph over England in the Women’s World Cup final held at Stadium Australia, Sydney.
Rubiales had earlier made a gesture by grabbing his crotch as part of his celebration at the conclusion of the match.
Addressing the general assembly convened by the federation, Rubiales asserted, “I will not resign, I will not resign. A character assassination is underway.”
Rubiales previously apologized for the kiss on a public platform, but FIFA proceeded to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him three days later.
During the general assembly, the Spanish football executive defended his actions, asserting that he was attempting to console Hermoso after she had a late penalty saved by England’s goalkeeper, Mary Earps.
“She (Hermoso) grabbed me and brought me closer to her body. We hugged (…) and then I asked: “A peck?”. She said “ok”. It happened, then she left padding me at the back with a smile on her face. This was the full sequence”. pic.twitter.com/burRhXWk44
— Pol Ballús (@polballus) August 25, 2023
But at the general assembly the Spanish football executive defended his actions, claiming he tried to console Hermoso after she had a late penalty saved by England keeper Mary Earps.
“Jenni was the one who lifted me up,” he said. “I told her to ‘forget about the penalty’ and I said to her ‘a little peck?’ and she said ‘OK’.
“It was a spontaneous kiss. Mutual, euphoric and consensual. That’s the key.
“A consensual ‘peck’ is enough to get me out of here? I will fight until the end.”
Rubiales did apologise for grabbing his crotch while celebrating in the VIP area of the ground, with Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter stood nearby.
Rubiales said: “I’m ready to be vilified to defend my ideals. I don’t deserve this manhunt I have been suffering.
“I want to apologise without reservations for everything that happened in the box, when in a moment of euphoria I grabbed that part of my body that you have already seen.
“Of course I have to apologise, to the Queen, and to everyone who has felt offended. I have been in countless boxes and I have never behaved like that.”
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez insisted that Rubiales’ initial apology was “not enough” while second deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz joined the contingent of people calling on him to resign.