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Luis Rubiales remains unapologetic in resignation over World Cup kiss

(Maja Hitij/FIFA via Getty Images)

Luis Rubiales has resigned from his position as Spanish football federation president amid the ongoing fallout over his nonconsensual kiss of star player Jenni Hermoso at the 2023 World Cup final.

Rubiales, 46, announced his resignation in a letter published Sunday on social media, following weeks of defiance in the face of increasing backlash from the global soccer community. The Spanish federation (RFEF) confirmed that Rubiales had stepped down as president of the RFEF and as vice president of UEFA.

“After the suspension by FIFA, in addition to the rest of the proceedings against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position,” Rubialies wrote, referring to his 90-day provisional suspension by FIFA. He also faces a sexual assault lawsuit from Spanish prosecutors.

“My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of persecution excessively, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that in the street, the truth is prevailing more every day,” he continued. He also said the “powers that be” would prevent his return, essentially forcing him to step down.

Later on Sunday, he gave an interview on “Piers Morgan Uncensored,” in which he said his decision to resign came after speaking with his friends and family.

“They say to me, ‘Luis, now you have to focus on your dignity and to continue your life, because if not, probably, you are going to damage people you love,’” he said.

Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips without her consent in the celebration following Spain’s World Cup victory over England on Aug. 20. While he has said that the kiss was consensual, Hermoso has maintained her denial of that claim in multiple statements.

Last week, Hermoso formally accused Rubiales of sexual assault. Two days later, Spanish prosecutors filed a lawsuit against Rubiales, alleging sexual assault and coercion. Under a sexual consent law passed last year, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to four years if found guilty of sexual assault.

FIFA has suspended Rubiales for 90 days during its investigation, but the world soccer governing body is reportedly seeking a 15-year ban.