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Spain’s Liga F calls for removal of Luis Rubiales after forced kiss

Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales is facing increasing calls to resign. (Oscar J. Barroso/AFP7 via Getty Images)

Spain’s professional women’s soccer league is calling for the resignation of national soccer federation president Luis Rubiales after his forced kiss of star Jenni Hermoso at the World Cup, referring to the incident as “an unprecedented international embarrassment.”

“One of the greatest feats in the history of Spanish sport was sullied by the embarrassing behavior of the highest representative of Spanish football,” Liga F said in a statement released Wednesday.

Liga F has filed a complaint against Rubiales with Spain’s National Sports Council demanding his removal from his position. In its statement, the league referred to his actions — including not just the kiss but also his celebratory crotch grab and his subsequent dismissal of the complaints against him — as “inadmissible and disgusting.”

To refuse a change in leadership, according to Liga F’s statement, “would be a humiliation for all women and the biggest defeat of Spanish sport and our country.”

Spain claimed its first Women’s World Cup title with a 1-0 win against England in Sunday’s tournament final, but its victory has been overshadowed by the fallout from Rubiales’ post-match kiss of Hermoso.

Hermoso initially downplayed the incident, both in a statement written by the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) and in a radio interview, calling it “just a small thing.” But the 33-year-old midfielder reportedly refused to appear alongside Rubiales in his apology video, despite requests from Rubiales and Vilda, and she called for action in a statement on Wednesday.

“My union, FUTPRO, in coordination with my agency, TMJ, are taking care of defending my interests and being the interlocutors on this matter,” Hermoso said.

Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s acting prime minister, said Rubiales’ apology “wasn’t sufficient.” Yolanda Díaz, the acting second deputy prime minister, called on the RFEF chief to resign. And voices across women’s soccer — including USWNT veteran Megan Rapinoe, Sweden captain Caroline Seger and San Diego Wave head coach Casey Stoney — have condemned Rubiales’ actions.

FUTPRO, the union for Spanish women’s players, also issued a statement Wednesday, saying it would assess “the most appropriate actions to take” in response to the incident in conjunction with Hermoso’s agency.