In the aftermath of the Women’s World Cup, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is embroiled in a leadership crisis as calls for the resignation of President Luis Rubiales escalate.
The controversy stems from Rubiales’ conduct during and after Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final, which has ignited outrage both domestically and internationally.
The Spanish Football Federation’s regional body heads issued an unprecedented collective statement on Monday, urging Rubiales to resign immediately due to his “unacceptable behavior” that has tarnished the image of Spanish soccer.
The statement came shortly after the federation had requested a suspension from UEFA due to alleged government interference related to Rubiales. However, the regional body heads urged the withdrawal of this suspension request.
Rubiales’ actions during the Women’s World Cup final included forcibly kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso during the on-field trophy ceremony and making a crude gesture in the presence of Spanish royalty.
These incidents led to his suspension from office by FIFA and a disciplinary case being opened against him. While Rubiales’ mother began a hunger strike in defense of her son, the Spanish players, now world champions, declared their refusal to play under his leadership.
The controversy has sparked widespread backlash, with fans, officials, and players condemning Rubiales’ behavior and demanding accountability.
The situation has cast a shadow on Spain’s recent triumph, diverting attention from their victory to the ongoing leadership turmoil within the federation.
Rubiales’ role in Spanish football is further complicated by his position as a vice president of UEFA. The suspension prevents him from participating in official activities and engaging with other officials.
Additionally, FIFA disciplinary judge Jorge Palacio has ordered both Rubiales and the federation not to contact Jenni Hermoso, who claimed she was pressured by the federation to publicly support Rubiales.
As Spain’s top clubs gear up for the Champions League draw and the men’s national team prepares for European Championship qualifiers, the RFEF finds itself in a precarious position.
With tensions rising and pressure mounting, the footballing world watches closely to see how this leadership crisis unfolds and whether Rubiales will heed the growing calls for his resignation.