Luis Rubiales has stepped down from his role as the president of the Spanish Football Federation after facing backlash for kissing Spain forward Jenni Hermoso, during the Women’s World Cup final presentation ceremony.
Lodging a legal complaint last Tuesday, the 33-year-old forward, Hermoso, said the kiss afterward was not given willingly.
According to Rubiales, he had submitted his resignation to federation acting president Pedro Rocha in a statement.
“I cannot continue my work,” he told Piers Morgan on his television show.
The 46-year-old has also resigned from his position as vice-president of Uefa’s executive committee.
The aftermath of the kiss has deeply affected Spanish football in recent weeks, casting a shadow over Spain’s World Cup victory. Despite numerous calls for his resignation, Rubiales has chosen to disregard them.
On Friday, a prosecutor filed a complaint with Spain’s high court – following Hermoso’s testimony on Tuesday – against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion.
Rubiales claimed the kiss was “mutual and “consensual” but had been provisionally suspended by football’s world governing body FIFA.
“After the quick suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of open proceedings against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position,” Rubiales’ statement read.
“Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football.”
Rubiales said he hoped his departure would boost Spain’s joint bid with Morocco and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup.
He added: “I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power to prevail.
“My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of excessive persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that on the street, more and more every day, the truth is prevailing.”
A total of 81 Spain players, including all 23 World Cup champions, announced their refusal to represent the national team as long as Rubiales remained in his role.
Jorge Vilda, the manager who led the team to World Cup victory and was seen as closely aligned with Rubiales, was dismissed on September 5th in connection with the scandal, and Montse Tome was appointed as his replacement.
Politicians, footballers and celebrities have spoken out against Rubiales, while protesters gathered at the federation’s headquarters last month to demand his resignation.
“The transformation and improvement of our lives is inevitable. We are with you, Jenni, and with all women.”
Irene Montero, Spain’s equality minister, added: “It’s over.”