Pressure mounts for Spanish Soccer Federation

Spanish Soccer Federation President Luis Rubiales is under fire, says sports writer Aurora Stewart.

During the Spanish women’s team’s
trophy ceremony after they won their first
Women’s World Cup final vs. England
1-0, Spanish Soccer Federation President
Luis Rubiales forcibly kissed Jenni Her-
moso and made a crotch-grabbing motion
in view of Queen Letizia of Spain and her
teenage daughter, Princess Sofía, who
were nearby.
Rubiales’ actions have led to a crisis
within Spanish soccer and his suspension
by the world governing body FIFA.
Following this controversy, the soccer
world has rallied behind Hermoso.
Andrés Iniesta, winner of the men’s
World Cup with Spain in 2010, denounced
Rubiales’ behavior, saying on social me-
dia that he was, “damaging the image of
our country and our football around the
Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning
coach Jorge Vilda joined in on the criti-
cism of Rubiales in his statement on Aug.
26 that was shared widely amongst Span-
ish media. “I am deeply sorry that the vic-
tory of Spanish women’s football has been
harmed by the inappropriate behavior that
our until now top leader, Luis Rubiales,
has carried out and that he himself has
Calls have echoed all throughout the
soccer world, and the world at large, for
Rubiales’ resignation.
Pedro Rocha, interim president of the
Royal Spanish Football Federation, and
the 18 regional federation chiefs met to
discuss distancing themselves from the
management of Rubiales amid the protests
flooding the streets of Madrid. This meet-
ing resulted in their unanimous request for
Rubiales’ resignation.
This result has garnered criticism for
its lack of severity due to the commit-
tee’s ability to table a motion of censure
and lack of implementation. Much of the
surprise of this decision comes from its
lack of alignment with the demands of the
Spanish government. Acting Prime Min-
ister Pedro Sánchez and several leading
politicians have demanded for Rubiales
to resign, which he has staunchly refused
to do. He publicly refused to resign at a
press conference in which he claimed he
was the victim of a witch-hunt by “false
Some delays in actions against Rubia-
les have to do with certain Spanish institu-
tion’s preceders. In this case, the Admin-
istrative Court of Sport requested more
documentation from the Superior Sports
Council, which will delay the latter’s abil-
ity to suspend Rubiales.
The sports justice system is not the
only one Rubiales should fear. The Span-
ish Prosecutor’s Office has opened a pre-
liminary investigation against him for the
possible crime of sexual aggression.
The concern from Spain goes beyond
the implications of having a position of
power held by someone like Rubiales.
The level of attention he has received has
drawn attention away from the success of
the women’s team. The Spanish Govern-
ment has goals of hosting the 2030 men’s
World Cup together with Portugal and
Morocco. The women’s team’s success
would have been an immense boost to the
Spanish brand and its prospects, but the
focus on the negativity surrounding the
victory could be a massive dent to their
Rubiales seems to have no regard for
the impacts of his actions though, nor does
his mother who staged a hunger strike in a
church in Motril in southern Spain in soli-
darity with her son. She fully defended
his actions and demanded an end to “the
bloody and inhumane hounding” of the
RFEF president.
Even Volker Türk, the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights,
has expressed his solidarity with Hermoso
and said he hoped that the case “marks a
turning point” in the sports world, where
women “continue to be subjected to sexu-
al harassment and abuse.”

Post Author: Aurora Stewart