For over a week he has been the most talked about man in the sports world.
When Spain’s number 10 Jenni Hermoso took the stage to receive her winner’s medal and congratulations from Spain’s Queen Leticia and Rubiales, the RFEF chief kissed her on the cheek, but then grabbed the 33-year-old’s head. old before kissing her on the lips.
Hermoso has done so ever since, prompting criticism from politicians, clubs and former and current players, both men and women. Many consider it another abuse of power in a patriarchal organization.
With so many questions surrounding this evolving and ever-changing story, DW lays out what you need to know.
What is the current status of the Luis Rubiales case?
amid calls for him to step down as RFEF president. Since then, however, FIFA’s disciplinary committee has had to protect Hermoso’s “fundamental rights”.
The 45-year-old has therefore been banned from all football-related activities at national and international level. The suspension will initially be for 90 days, pending a disciplinary procedure initiated by FIFA last Thursday. World football’s governing body ordered Rubiales not to contact Hermoso or her immediate circle, either personally or through a third party. The same applies to the Spanish Federation RFEF and its officers and employees.
On Monday, prosecutors in Spain said they had opened a sexual assault investigation against Rubiales. According to a statement received by the AFP news agency of Spain’s national court, “prosecutors of the national court have opened a preliminary investigation to investigate the facts, which could constitute a crime of assault”. The statement indicated that the court would offer Hermoso a chance to file a lawsuit.
What was the reaction to Rubiales’ speech last Friday?
The Spanish government reacted immediately to Rubiales’ vehement refusal to resign.
“Logically, we will do everything in our power to ensure that this gentleman, who can hardly be called a worthy representative of Spanish football, is no longer at the forefront of Spanish football,” said Spain’s interim head of government Teresa Ribera to the newspaper. Europa Press news agency.
Spanish football legends such as Andres Iniesta and Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso have also expressed their disgust. “It is very clear that he has to go. He was never accepted. He has not behaved correctly and cannot continue in this position,” Alonso told Sky Germany.
Meanwhile, in all this, the victim repeated in a statement that the kiss was not consensual. She announced that she would no longer play for the Spanish national team as long as the current leadership remained in place.
As a result, Spain currently no longer has a women’s national team. Eleven staff members also resigned on Saturday, including the assistants of the controversial national coach Jorge Vilda.
On the other side of the scandal, Rubiales’ family have all publicly demanded that Hermoso “tell the truth.” According to the Spanish press, his mother, Angeles Bejar, has gone on indefinite hunger strike to protest the ongoing “inhuman and bloody manhunt.” She has locked herself in her hometown church in Motril, Spain, and will not eat until justice is done for her son. An aunt is also said to have joined the hunger strike.
What happens now?
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) called an “extraordinary and urgent” meeting on Monday to discuss the consequences of FIFA’s decision to suspend Rubiales. RFEF interim president Pedro Rocha wants to “analyze and evaluate the current situation.” Immediately after the takeover, Rocha secured the retraction of an RFEF statement asking Hermoso to stop lying about the “consensual” kiss.
In conjunction with the RFEF meeting, politician Yolanda Diaz, the second vice president of Spain, plans to meet with the president of the players’ union FutPro and representatives of the Spanish players’ organization AFE.
What consequences could the case have for Spanish football?
If Rubiales remains in power, it would be difficult for FIFA to award the 2030 Men’s World Cup to Spain, which is involved with Portugal and Morocco in a joint effort to host the tournament. The three countries’ cross-continental bid is considered the most promising of all the contenders.
The impact could also be felt at club level, based on threats from RFEF Secretary-General Andreu Camps, who has denounced the Spanish government’s intervention in Europe’s football governing body, UEFA. He said the demands for Rubiales’ resignation and the announcements to secure his removal constituted political interference in sports matters.
Under UEFA regulations, such an act would result in the federation being banned from all competitions. Prominent clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona should therefore not be allowed to participate in the Champions League or other UEFA competitions. Camps’ aim is to increase pressure on the Spanish government to withdraw its requests for resignation, but UEFA rejected the RFEF’s request.
Where is the Spanish national coach Jorge Vilda?
Controversial Spain women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda has also distanced himself from Rubiales – but late. Vilda was always supported by Rubiales, even when 15 players resigned from the national team last year for trying to get Vilda to resign.
Last Friday, during Rubiales’ flaming speech, which denounced criticism of him as including “false feminism,” Vilda was still in the audience applauding Rubiales when he repeatedly shouted, “I won’t resign!” A day later, Vilda apparently changed her mind. In a statement, the world champion coach on Saturday night condemned Rubiales’ behavior.
“I deeply regret that the success of Spanish women’s football has been affected by the inappropriate behavior of our President Luis Rubiales, which he himself admitted,” said Vilda’s statement, published in Spanish media.
This article has been translated from German