Jennifer Hermoso started against England in the World Cup final on Sunday, but missed the chance to score when her second-half penalty was saved by Mary Earps; Rubiales said: "I was completely wrong, I have to admit it. It was without bad intention at a time with a lot of excitement."
Monday 21 August 2023 19:37, UK
Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has apologised for embracing and kissing Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the World Cup final trophy celebrations.
The footage showed Rubiales embracing the footballer when Hermoso went to collect her medal on the trophy podium after Sunday's 1-0 win over England.
On Monday, Rubalies said: "I was completely wrong, I have to admit it. It was without bad intention at a time with a lot of excitement. In the moment, we saw it as natural, but outside a commotion has formed.
"I have to apologise, learn from this, and understand that when you are president you have to be more careful."
Forward Hermoso, who is Spain's all-time record scorer, was asked about the incident during an Instagram live video following the trophy ceremony and said "I did not enjoy it".
In comments given to AFP by the Spanish federation, Hermoso later said: "It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings.
"The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude."
Sky Sports News has contacted the Spanish FA for comment.
Hermoso started against England in the World Cup final on Sunday, but missed the chance to score when her second-half penalty was saved by Mary Earps.
Spanish football expert Semra Hunter speaking to Sky Sports News about the incident:
"The reaction has been polarised in Spain. Some people felt it was no big deal, that they were both caught up in the moment and it was a snap reaction - they're defending him in a way.
"But there are other people who've said what is he doing, what is he thinking and it's grossly inappropriate.
"She tried to downplay it to the media by saying they had a great relationship, he's supported the girls throughout the tournament, he's really behaved very well and there's nothing more to it.
"But on social media she said she didn't really like it. I think we're not really clear as to how she feels about it.
"If she really does feel uncomfortable about it then we have to look at the wider problem here and why it is that she can't speak up and be honest about it.
"The reactions here have been completely opposite, in terms of those that are saying it's not too much of a big deal and others that are absolutely horrified at what they saw and are asking him to step down as the Spanish FA president."
In Spain, acting minister for sports and culture Miquel Iceta told public broadcaster RNE "it is unacceptable to kiss a player on the lips to congratulate her".
A stronger reaction came from Spanish government equality minister Irene Montero.
"It is a form of sexual violence that women suffer on a daily basis, and which has been invisible so far, and which we should not normalise," Ms Montero said wrote Sunday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Meanwhile, world players' union FIFPRO said the kiss was "deeply lamentable".
"It is deeply lamentable that such a special moment for the players of the Spain national team that was taking place before a global television audience should be stained by the inappropriate conduct of an individual in a role carrying so much responsibility," FIFPRO said in a statement.
"Uninitiated and uninvited physical gestures towards players are not appropriate or acceptable in any context. This is especially true when players are put in a position of vulnerability because a physical approach or gesture is initiated by a person who holds power over them."
Mr Rubiales also is a UEFA vice-president and was the European football body's most senior elected representative at the final in Australia.