HomeBusinessEconomySpain players announce boycott after Rubiales refuses to resign

Spain players announce boycott after Rubiales refuses to resign

Luis Rubiales gave a fiery speech in which he shouted that he refused to resign from his post as RFEF chief RFEF via AFP / Eidan RUBIO

A total of 81 Spanish footballers have announced a boycott and are refusing to play for the country unless the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sacks its president, Luis Rubiales. Calls are being made for his resignation after he forcibly kissed World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the awarding ceremony last Sunday. However, he has refused to resign, and the players are demanding action from the federation itself.

The boycott comes following the shocking developments on Friday, when members of the media were initially briefed that Rubiales would be handing in his resignation. Instead, the opposite happened during the extraordinary general assembly which was arranged by the RFEF.

What happened during the Assembly?

Rubiales was a defiant figure on the podium as he faced colleagues and the press on Friday, saying “I don’t deserve this manhunt.”

Although he issued an apology on Monday in the immediate aftermath of the incident, he reiterated his stance that “it was a spontaneous kiss. Mutual, euphoric and consensual.”

Rubiales stated that he does not intend to resign over the issue of a kiss. “A consensual ‘peck’ is enough to get me out of here?,” he asked.

Hermoso issues a statement that contradicts Rubiales

The RFEF chief continues to insist that the kiss was consensual, just like the statement that the federation published supposedly on behalf of Hermoso herself. However, the forward has since denied that she provided consent. Following the general assembly, all 23 members of Spain’s World Cup winning squad issued a statement through their union, FutPro.

Apart from the World Cup roster, 58 other players signed the statement which condemns the actions of Rubiales as well as the statement released by the RFEF which put words in Hermoso’s mouth.

To make things clear, Jenni Hermoso “categorically denies that Rubiales’ kiss was consensual.”

Furthermore, she said, “I would like to clarify that as can be seen in the images, at no point did I give my consent to be kissed in that manner and of course, in no moment did I try to lift the president up. I will not tolerate that my account of what happened has been put into doubt or that others have invented things that I did not say.”

Finally, the players announced that they are refusing to play for Spain and will not be available for international duty unless Rubiales is removed from his post.

The Spanish Women’s National Football Team have two Nations League qualifiers coming up in September. They will be facing Sweden and Switzerland towards the end of the month, and it remains to be seen if manager Jorge Vilda will be able to field any players.

Heartbreak instead of euphoria for Rubiales and the players

Unfortunately, instead of a week full of celebrations, the RFEF and the players have been embroiled in this controversy. Apart from the kiss on Hermoso, Rubiales is also being criticised for grabbing his crotch while celebrating in the stands beside Her Majesty Queen Letizia and Infanta Sofia. He was also seen carrying Athenea del Castillo over his shoulder like a hunk of meat on the pitch during the celebrations in Sydney.

Luis Rubiales
Spanish football president Luis Rubiales is facing unprecedented criticism for his unsolicited kiss and behaviour at the Women’s World Cup final AFP / DAVID GRAY

“Although it is true that for my part I do not want to interfere with the multiple legal processes in progress, I feel compelled to denounce that the words of Mr. Luis Rubiales explaining the unfortunate accident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated,” said Hermoso in the latest statement.

“I clarify that at no time did the conversation to which Mr. Luis Rubiales referred to take place and that, far from it, his kiss was consented. In the same way I want to reiterate as I did at the time that this fact had not been to my liking.”

FIFA has already opened a disciplinary proceeding into the issue, and it remains to be seen what actions will be taken. Hermoso has received support from key figures in the men’s sport as well, including prominent players and coaches in La Liga. England’s Lionesses, who lost to Spain in the World Cup final, also issued a statement to support Hermoso and La Roja.

“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,” said the Lionesses.

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