Regional presidents of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) have called for the immediate resignation of embattled president Luis Rubiales.
This comes days after the federation’s members applauded Rubiales as he vowed not to resign in the aftermath of his World Cup controversy. Rubiales has come under fire for his unsolicited kiss of Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso after the team’s World Cup win. Following the incident, he insisted the kiss was consensual, while Hermoso has maintained that it was not.
FIFA has suspended Rubiales for 90 days during its investigation, but the world soccer governing body is reportedly seeking a 15-year ban. The Spanish government has also sought Rubiales’ removal, and prosecutors are investigating the incident as possible sexual assault.
Through it all, Rubiales has said he will not resign. In front of the RFEF last Friday, he railed against “fake feminism” in a speech that was met with a standing ovation.
Following the speech, the RFEF issued a statement saying that it would seek legal action against Hermoso, accusing her of lying about the circumstances of the kiss. That statement was later deleted.
On Monday, a committee consisting of the RFEF’s regional federation presidents met for five hours to discuss next steps.
“After the latest events and unacceptable behavior that have severely damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents ask, with immediate effect, that Luis Rubiales presents his resignation as president of the RFEF,” the regional presidents said in a statement released Monday night.
One committee member, Manu Díaz de Marcos, told broadcaster Cadena Ser that the regional presidents had not considered the idea of a no-confidence motion in Rubiales, which would have brought an end to his presidency.
The statement does not mention Hermoso by name, although it does call for a “new phase” for the federation and a “deep and imminent restructuring” of the RFEF body. The players of the Spain women’s national team have refused to return without a leadership change.