Under fire Spanish FA president issues new defence of ‘mutual and consented’ World Cup final kiss


Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has issued a fresh defence after kissing a player on the lips following the Women’s World Cup final.

Mr Rubiales‘s statement comes as the Spanish football federation called for him to step down on Monday.

The 46-year-old has faced widespread criticism for kissing player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain’s 1-0 victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final on 20 August.

In his statement, he said: “I made some obvious mistakes, which I sincerely regret from the bottom of my heart.

“The spontaneity and happiness of the historic moment led us to carry out a mutual and consented act, the product of great enthusiasm.

“At no time was there any aggression, indeed, there was not even the slightest discomfort, but an overflowing joy in both.

“I repeat: with the consent of both parties, both in the affectionate hugs, as well as in the peak and subsequent farewell full of affectionate mutual gestures, that occurred on the Medals delivery stage.

More on Luis Rubiales

“I have also felt the growing support of people on the street and on social media.”

Earlier, the coach of the Spanish men’s national football team, Luis de la Fuente, apologised for applauding Mr Rubiales during the speech in which he refused to resign.

Mr Rubiales, 46, claimed in the speech last Friday that he was the victim of a “social assassination”.

The men’s coach was sitting in the front row during Mr Rubiales’ speech and clapped when he attacked “false feminism”.

Mr de la Fuente said the football federation president’s defiant speech was a “situation that overwhelmed many of us for which I was not prepared for” – saying he expected Mr Rubiales to resign.

Read more:
‘Eye-opening response’ in Madrid to World Cup kiss
Who said what in World Cup kiss row
Who is Luis Rubiales – the football boss at the centre of a kissing row

“I want to take this moment and my place as national men’s coach to explain the situation.

“I have received harsh criticism for it. Do you know what I think of the criticisms? They are entirely deserved, that I am sorry, that I understand them and ask forgiveness for them.”

Meanwhile, a Spanish government legal panel handling sports issues opened a formal case against Mr Rubiales.

Spain is hoping to remove him independently of a FIFA process that has already suspended him provisionally.

Jenni Hermoso  is kissed by president of the RFEF Luis Rubiales during the FIFA Womens World Cup 2023 Final football match
Jenni Hermoso is kissed by Rubiales

The government panel will decide if he abused his authority by kissing Hermoso or damaged the image and reputation of Spain at a sporting event, as the government claims.

He could be banned from office for two years.

“When the eyes of the world were played on our players, his acts caused damage to our sport and our country that is difficult to repair,” said Miquel Iceta, Spain’s acting minister of culture and sport.

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