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Julie Foudy on Spain’s Luis Rubiales: ‘This will not end well for him’

(Hanna Lassen/Getty Images)

Luis Rubiales continues to dig in his heels, refusing to resign as president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) despite mounting backlash over his unsolicited kiss of star midfielder Jenni Hermoso at the 2023 World Cup final.

On Friday, Spain’s sports court deemed Rubiales’ kiss of Hermoso was “serious” but not “very serious,” which means Rubiales cannot be suspended by the Spanish government. While an investigation by Spanish prosecutors could still lead the president to be suspended for a maximum of two years, Rubiales will continue to defend himself “to prove the truth,” he said.

He also criticized those in the media and politics for “unprecedented” treatment.

“He just continues to dig that hole. I don’t understand the point of all of this,” U.S. women’s national team legend Julie Foudy told CNN on Friday. “What we’ve seen is you have, for the first time ever, a women’s team in Spain win that World Cup. And that has never happened in that country.

“And so in this moment of joy and glee for these women, all of a sudden all of that is taken away by Rubiales’ refusal to even apologize at first.”

Rubiales has faced heavy criticism, including from leaders of the Spanish government and regional presidents of the Spanish football federation. Even still, he has held his ground, but Foudy doesn’t think will end well for Rubiales.

“I think the difference this time around … is that you have this movement culturally and in society where you’re seeing a global reaction to this,” she said. “Not just soccer players defending her, not just women. … there has been a global reaction to that. And the government has responded to it. I think this will not end well for him.”

Despite the seemingly unending controversy, Foudy still thinks some good will come from it.

“If you can find a silver lining in it … it will be this transformative moment,” she said, highlighting the issues Spain has faced with “Las 15.” “This is not just about a kiss, this is about a larger systemic issue. And finally you’re getting a cultural reaction, not just in Spain but globally.”