Luis Rubiales resigns as head of Spanish soccer

Luis Rubiales resigned Sunday night as president of the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation and as vice president of the Union of European Football Association. Photo by J.P. Gandul/EPA-EFE

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Luis Rubiales, the head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, announced late Sunday that he has resigned following weeks of growing pressure to do so over his nonconsensual kiss of midfielder Jenni Hermoso during last month's celebrations of his country's Women's World Cup victory.

Rubiales has been under fire since he grabbed Hermoso by the head with two hands and kissed her on the lips during the award ceremony after Spain downed England 1-0 Aug. 20 in the title match.

Hermoso has said the kiss was not consensual. The soccer executive has since been suspended by the Spanish soccer federation, the Union of European Football Association and the sport's governing body, FIFA.

Earlier this month, a Spanish prosecutor filed a criminal complaint against Rubiales, accusing him of sexual assault.

Rubiales said in a statement that he submitted his resignation to interim Spanish soccer president Pedro Rocha at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. He said he has also resigned from his position as vice president of the UEFA.

"After the swift suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of the procedures opened against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position," Rubiales said.

"Insisting on waiting and clinging to it is not going to contribute anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football."

The Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed in a statement that it has received Rubiales' resignation as president as well as vice president of the UEFA.

Rubiales continued in the statement that he will work to clear his name.

"I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power to make it prevail," he said.

A comment accompanying his statement, which was posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, states: "I will defend my honor. I will defend my innocence. I have fair in the future. I have faith in the truth."

Spanish politicians Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz and Equality Minister Irene Montero celebrated his resignation online.

"The feminist country is advancing faster and faster. The transformation and improvement of our lives is inevitable. We are with you, Jenni, and with all women," Diaz said.

Montero simply wrote: "It's over."