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Luis Rubiales: Spanish football president accuses Jenni Hermoso of lying over kiss at Women's World Cup final

Luis Rubiales insists he will not step down after kissing Jenni Hermoso during the World Cup trophy presentation; Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual, Rubiales has doubled down and says he will sue Hermoso; 81 Spanish players have said they will not play for the country again

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Luis Rubiales has refused to resign as Spanish FA president for kissing Jenni Hermoso after Spain's Women's World Cup final victory on Sunday and says he has been subjected to a 'social assassination'

Embattled Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales has used his federation to accuse World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso of lying by saying she did not consent to being kissed by him.

The federation also threatened legal action to defend Rubiales.

The latest defiant statement from the 46-year-old came in the early hours of Saturday morning amid mounting pressure from within Spanish football and the government for him to resign.

It was expected Rubiales was going to step down on Friday - before going on the attack against his accusers in a speech at a federation assembly.

What happened at Rubiales' shocking press conference?

  • He insisted repeatedly that he would not resign
  • Said his kiss of Hermoso was “spontaneous” and “consensual”
  • Claimed he is the victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists”
  • Threatened to sue his accusers
  • Said he will offer women's head coach Jorge Vilda a new four-year contract

That sparked an outcry from Hermoso and her team-mates who vowed not to play for Spain again - days after winning the World Cup for the first time.

In a statement on Friday night, the 33-year-old forward said "in no moment" did she consent to the kiss.

The Spanish football federation's lengthy statement showed a series of images claiming to be Hermoso encouraging being lifted by Rubiales.

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"Mr President's feet are ostensibly lifted from the ground as a result of the player's action," the statement said.

"The tests are conclusive. Mr President has not lied.

"The RFEF and Mr President will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself."

However, Hermoso was quoted in a statement issued by Futpro, the players' union representing her, as stating: "In no case did I seek to raise the president."

Hermoso has also accused the federation of a "manipulative, hostile and controlling culture".

The statement threatened legal action, saying that playing for the national team "is an obligation for all members of the federation if they are called up".

The statement added: "The RFEF regrets that after a sporting success as extraordinary as the one that occurred in the World Cup cannot be celebrated as the situation and success deserves for completely extra-sporting reasons."

FIFA has started a case against Rubiales but UEFA - of which he is a €250,000-a-year vice-president - has yet to comment.

'They are preparing an execution' - Rubiales' astonishing rant

Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales at an extraordinary meeting of its general assembly:

"They are not trying to carry out justice, that’s fake. A social assassination is being carried out on me. They are trying to kill me.

"Fake feminism does not seek justice, doesn’t seek the truth, doesn’t care about people. I repeat, they are preparing an execution.

"To these people who have said this about me, that have accused me, that are trying to kill me publicly… I’m going to defend myself, I’m going to defend myself like every other Spaniard should do in the courts.

"I’m going to take action against them. I’m not going to resign! I am not going to resign! I am not going to resign! I am not going to resign! I am not going to resign!"

Rubiales grabbed Hermoso and kissed her on the lips during the awards ceremony following Spain's 1-0 victory over England on Sunday in Sydney.

Lionesses back Hermoso

The player said she was "vulnerable" and "the victim of an aggression" as she and the rest of the Spain team revealed they will not play any further matches until the "federation leadership is removed".

A total of 81 players, including all of the 23-strong World Cup-winning squad, signed the joint statement after Rubiales refused to resign following his controversial kiss at the final.

England's Lionesses - who were defeated by Spain in the World Cup final - backed the players' boycott, saying: "Unacceptable actions allowed to happen by a sexist and patriarchal organisation. Abuse is abuse and we have all seen the truth.

"The behaviour of those who think they are invincible must not be tolerated and people shouldn't need convincing to take action against any form of harassment.

"We all stand with you, @jennihermoso and all players of the Spanish team."

The Spanish government has started legal action in a bid to suspend Rubiales from his post - and the head of Spain's women's football committee has quit his role.

Rubiales: I won't resign

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Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol believes Rubiales is in 'a fight he can't win'

Rubiales claimed the kiss was "mutual" and "with consent" at a meeting of the Spanish football federation's general assembly on Friday.

He added that he was the victim of a witch hunt by "false feminists" after rapidly repeating "I won't resign" a number of times.

In the version of events Rubiales gave to the assembly, he said Hermoso had lifted him up in celebration, and he asked her for "a little kiss" and she said yes.

"The kiss was the same I could give one of my daughters," Rubiales said.

He said that he would defend his honour in court against politicians, including two ministers, who called his kiss an act of sexual violence.

Luis Rubiales faced widespread criticism for kissing Jenni Hermoso after Spain's Women's World Cup win over England on Sunday
Image: Hermoso says she did not consent to be kissed by Rubiales

Spanish football's 'Me Too'?

Rubiales cannot be sacked by the government but the head of the state-run Sports Council, Victor Francos, says it will use a legal procedure in a sports tribunal.

"We want this to be a 'Me Too' of Spanish soccer, " said Francos.

Gender issues have become a prominent topic in Spain in recent years, with tens of thousands of women taking part in street marches protesting sexual abuse and violence.

On Friday evening, people gathered outside the Spanish Soccer Federation in Madrid to protest against Rubiales, with some carrying banners or holding up red cards.

'Embarrassing', 'My ears are bleeding': Football reacts to Rubiales' speech

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England's World Cup runner-up Jess Carter believes Spain's victory in the competition has now been tarnished by the actions of Rubiales

England defender Jess Carter, who played the whole 90 minutes of Sunday's final defeat, told Sky News Rubiales' actions had "tarnished" the moment of Spain's victory.

"It's really sad, to be honest, that such a special moment has been tarnished, for Hermoso, for Spain, who have just achieved something incredible - and it's been ruined by that moment," she said.

"I didn't see it live, it wasn't until I got back and saw the photographs, and I said 'this can't be real'. It's so unacceptable, and I'm not sure how he can say anything other than sincere apologies. It's not something that should happen in any line of work, least of all on the world stage.

"She's been put in an almost impossible position, how do you go against someone with such power? But at the same time stand up and say that it's not acceptable."

Barcelona and Spain star Alexia Putellas, who posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: "This is unacceptable. It's over. With you my team-mate @Jennihermoso." Other team-mates quickly followed, along with players from abroad.

"I'm disgusted by the public actions of Luis Rubiales," US international Alex Morgan said on X. She added that winning a World Cup "should be one of the best moments in these players' lives but instead it's overshadowed by assault, misogyny, and failures by the Spanish federation."

Rubiales' comments were not well-received by a number of former Spain internationals, with David De Gea taking to X to write: "My ears are bleeding."

Liga F, the Spanish women's top flight where 22 of the World Cup winning squad's 24 players play domestically, made an unprecedented statement of their own on X writing: "It's time to change this forever" with regards to Rubiales' position.

Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias, who made his debut for the national side last year and was in Luis de la Fuente's last squad, has said he will not play for his country again "until things change and this type of act does not go unpunished".

In a statement on X, the 30-year-old wrote: "As a footballer and as a person I don't feel represented by what happened today. Wearing the Spanish national team shirt is one of the greatest things that has happened to me in my career.

"I don't know if at some point I will be an option again, but I have made the decision not to return to the national team until things change and this type of act does not go unpunished."

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