Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales quit his post on Sunday (Sep 10) after three weeks of scandal over allegations he gave an unsolicited kiss to a player on the women’s national team as they celebrated their World Cup victory last month.
Rubiales announced his resignation in a statement in which he said his position had become untenable.
His kiss of player Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup win in Sydney on Aug 20 had caused outrage among players, government officials and many in wider Spanish society and raised questions over sexism in sport.
His decision to go came after further blows to his position in the last few days.
A Spanish prosecutor filed a complaint with the High Court against Rubiales on Friday for sexual assault and coercion.
The complaint – which came after Hermoso opted earlier in the week to lodge a criminal complaint over the incident – describes how Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the mouth “without her consent” while holding her head with both hands after Spain defeated England to clinch the World Cup.
Rubiales has said the kiss was mutual and consensual and had until Sunday defied calls from players, government officials and others for him to resign.
Rubiales had also been suspended for three months from all football activities by FIFA pending an investigation by football’s world governing body into his actions.
“After the rapid suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of the proceedings opened against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position,” Rubiales said in his statement.
“Insisting on waiting and clinging … is not going to contribute anything positive, neither to the Federation nor to Spanish football. Among other things, because there are de facto powers that will prevent my return,” he added.
He said he had also stepped down as a vice president of European football body UEFA. He posted his statement on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.
Reuters reached out to Hermoso’s representative for comment on Rubiales’ resignation, and they did not return the telephone call.
Hermoso, Spain’s all-time top scorer with 51 goals, currently plays at Mexican top-tier side Pachuca, where she moved in June 2022 following her second spell at Barcelona.
Spanish government ministers, who had been solidly behind Hermoso and others calling for Rubiales to go, celebrated his departure.