Despite multiple reports claiming Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales was set to step down following his antics during the 2023 Women’s World Cup Final, he has announced that he is refusing to resign from his position. 

Rubiales received heavy criticism for kissing Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy ceremony in Sydney, as well as his inappropriate celebrations in the Spanish Royal box when Spain scored the eventual winning goal to beat England 1-0 in last Sunday’s final (August 20). 

FIFA decided then to open an investigation into Rubiales’ behaviour on 24 August and opened disciplinary proceedings against the RFEF President. 

A FIFA statement regarding the issue read: “The FIFA disciplinary committee informed Luis Rubiales, president of the RFEF, today that it is opening disciplinary proceedings against him based on the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on 20th August, 2023.

“The events may constitute violations of article 13 paragraphs one and two of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. The FIFA disciplinary committee will only provide further information on these disciplinary proceedings once it has issued a final decision on the matter.

“FIFA reiterates its unwavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and strongly condemns any behaviour to the contrary.”

However, despite strong backlash and an “insufficient” apology video deemed by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Rubiales has made his intentions clear he will not be forced into resignation. 

The 46-year-old made a statement apologising to the Queen of Spain for his antics in the Royal Box, and also claimed that a “social murder” is out against him. 

He stated: “We have been through a lot, they have wanted to do to you the same thing that they are doing to me now, they are trying to create a false speech and turn it against you.

“I was very moved when after winning the World Cup you turned around and dedicated it to me. There I made the gesture. I apologise to Her Majesty the Queen, I have never behaved like this in a box.”

Rubiales also explained what happened during the kiss to Hermoso, in which he passed off as nothing more than a kiss to “his daughter” as he believes there was no desire involved. 

He continued: “It was more of a peck than a kiss. There was no desire, the desire was the same as I would have giving my daughter a kiss, there was no dominance. It was spontaneous, mutual and consented.

“Jenni picked me up off the ground and we almost fell. She was the one who lifted me up. We hugged and I told her ‘Forget the [missed] penalty, you’ve been fantastic in this World Cup’ and she told me ‘you’re a crack’ and I told her, a little peck? and she said okay.

“It is a social murder, they are trying to kill me. As a Spaniard, we have to reflect on where we are going. False feminism does not seek justice, it does not seek the truth, it does not care about people.”

If FIFA decides to charge Rubiales with violations of its disciplinary code, this may put his place as RFEF President and UEFA Vice-President in major jeopardy and could face suspension. 

The potential suspension may also hurt Spain’s bid to co-host the 2030 FIFA World Cup alongside Portugal and Morocco, with a decision on the host nation(s) to be announced towards the end of 2024. 

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