Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales announced he is not stepping down
Content warning: This section contains mention of sexual misconduct.
The GIST: Amid repeated calls for his resignation after he forcibly kissed Spain’s captain Jenni Hermoso as she accepted her FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) medal on Sunday, Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales announced early this morning that he is not stepping down, insteading vowing to fight for his post. You can’t make this sh!t up.
The background: Following swift backlash to the kiss (among other lewd gestures), Rubiales released a bullsh!t “apology” earlier this week, apparently eager to brush all criticism aside and ignore the calls for his removal, even as Hermoso herself urged action.
- FIFA, the world’s governing soccer body, also announced disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales yesterday.
The latest: Still, in an impassioned speech at today’s RFEF extraordinary general assembly, Rubiales said the kiss was “mutual and with consent.” He shared that he would not be forced out of his role due to a “witch hunt” and “false feminism” and called the last five days a “social assassination” of his character.
- Not only that, but Rubiales doubled down on backing Spain’s controversial women’s national team head coach, Jorge Vilda, reportedly offering him a four-year contract extension and increasing his salary to half a million Euros next year.
- As a reminder, 15 players from Spains’ women’s national team resigned in protest against Vilda last September, citing a toxic and unprofessional work environment.
- Sadly, Rubiales’ speech was received with a mighty round of applause as he blew kisses to the majority male assembly. To quote USWNT star Megan Rapinoe, what kind of upside-down world are we living in?
The pattern: Unfortunately, women’s soccer and misogyny go hand in hand. In the past year alone, an investigation uncovered widespread misconduct within the NWSL, CanWNT played under protest as they fought for equal treatment from their federation, and Zambia’s head coach was accused of sexual misconduct by his players.
- And after all that, last week, FIFA president Gianni Infantino had the audacity to say that the onus is on female footballers to “convince us, men, what we have to do” when speaking about equality in the game.
Zooming out: Women's soccer has never been more popular, yet players are still fighting for protection on the field, in the locker rooms, and even in moments of glory. When will it end?