Spanish Football Federation regional leaders have called on their president Luis Rubiale
s to immediately resign after he kissed player Jenni Hermoso.
in a statement on Monday, after an extraordinary meeting of its regional presidents, the federation (RFEF) said “after recent events and the unacceptable behaviour that has seriously damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents request that Luis Rubiales resign immediately as president of the RFEF.”
The presidents also gave “unanimous support” to interim RFEF Chief Pedro Rocha, calling for an overhaul of the federation’s management.
The statement said “We will urge the relevant authorities to carry out a profound and imminent organisational restructuring in strategic positions of the federation in order to make way for a new stage in the management of Spanish football.”
46 year old Rubiales has continually faced criticisms after he kissed Hermoso at the Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win, with the 33 year old player in a statement released on Instagram, saying that the kiss on her lips was not consensual.
Rubiales was suspended on Saturday by world football’s governing body Fifa, a day after he insisted the kiss was “mutual and consensual”, and that he would not resign, during a RFEF emergency meeting.
Announcing the suspension, Fifa ordered him, the RFEF and its officials and employees not to attempt to contact Hermoso, whom the RFEF threatened with legal action earlier same day.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Sports Tribunal (TAD) also met on Monday to discuss the Spanish government’s request to suspend Rubiales.
Spanish prosecutors had opened a preliminary investigation into whether the incident amounts to a crime of sexual assault.
Reacting, Rubiales’ mother Angeles Bejar on Monday, locked herself in the Divina Pastora church in Motril on the southern Spanish coast – the town where her son was raised, saying she has gone on a hunger strike because of the “inhuman hunt” against her son.
She told Spanish news agency EFE the strike would continue “indefinite, day and night” – saying the “inhuman and bloody hunt that they are doing with my son is something he does not deserve”.
Rubiales’ cousin Vanessa Ruiz, who acts as a family spokesperson in Motril, said: “We are suffering a lot for him. He has been judged before his time.
“They [the media] don’t stop harassing us. We had to leave our house. We want them to leave us alone and for Jenni to tell the truth. It’s not fair.”
In the evening same day, hundreds of people gathered in the centre of Madrid in a protests called by feminist groups in support of Hermoso and against Rubiales.
Spain’s acting labour minister Yolanda Diaz said on Monday that male chauvinism was “systemic” in the country and called for social attitudes to change more generally in the country – and for victims of sexual harassment and violence to be better protected.
It would be recalled that on August 25, – 81 Spanish players – including all 23 players who went to the Women’s World Cup – announced they will not play for Spain’s women’s team until Rubiales is removed from his position.
World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda on August 26, criticized Rubiales, while his entire coaching staff resigned in protest against the federation president.
NIM / BBC