Luis Rubiales resigned as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, three weeks after he forcibly kissed Jennifer Hermoso during the trophy ceremony to celebrate Spain’s first-ever Women’s World Cup title.
The announcement came after FIFA suspended Rubiales for 90 days and faced widespread criticism from the Spanish football community. The World Cup-winning national team subsequently went on strike, as did nearly 50 other Spanish women players.
In a statement, Rubiales said he was resigning “to protect the federation and Spanish football” and to “ensure that the 2030 World Cup bid can continue without any distractions.”
“I have always acted with the best interests of Spanish football in mind,” he said. “However, I understand that my actions have caused a great deal of damage, and I believe that it is in the best interests of everyone that I step down.”
Rubiales’ resignation is a major blow to Spain’s bid to co-host the 2030 World Cup with Portugal, Morocco and Ukraine. He was seen as a key figure in the bid and his departure will be a setback.
It is unclear if the Spanish women’s national team will return to the pitch following Rubiales’ resignation. The players have said that they will only return if they are given guarantees that the federation will be run more respectfully and transparently.
Rubiales’ resignation is a significant development in Spanish football. It remains to be seen how the federation will move forward without him, but it is clear that the sport is in a state of flux.