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Luis Rubiales fallout live: Rfef boss accused of sexual assault while Jorge Vilda hits out at ‘unfair’ sacking

The Spanish FA boss continues to resist pressure to exit his role while the Women’s team have sacked their World Cup-winning manager

Karl Matchett
Wednesday 06 September 2023 19:31 BST
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Luis Rubiales is fighting to clear his name and remain in his job as president of the Spanish FA (Rfef) amid increasing pressure and criticism after his conduct across the Women’s World Cup final.

After kissing Spain’ Jenni Hermoso, with the player insisting it was without consent and not welcomed, the fallout has seen the Spanish federation widely criticised for their lack of immediate response and Rubiales’ insistence he is in the right.

Meanwhile, manager of the women’s team Jorge Vilda has been sacked, adding a further layer to the ongoing discussion and subsequent changes at the head of the federation. Follow all the latest updates regarding Spain’s women’s team, Rubiales and Vilda below.

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Luis Rubiales - Spain fallout latest

The Spanish Government mistakenly honoured celebrity Ivana Icardi, sister of Argentinian footballer Mauro Icardi, instead of Women’s World Cup winning captain Ivana Andres, with the country’s Royal Order of Sports Merit, Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD) confirmed on Wednesday.

CSD issued an official apology for the “human error” which they “deeply regret” after the blunder was published in Tuesday’s edition of Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE).

A correction was made on Wednesday’s edition, honouring the correct Ivana, who lifted Spain’s first Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand last month.

Ivana Icardi, an Argentinian celebrity who resides in Mallorca and has participated in several Spanish reality television shows, reacted in confusion on social media.

“This really happened! How could they possibly get something like this wrong?,” Icardi wrote while sharing a copy of BOE’s page with her name on it.

Real Madrid defender Andres reacted to the news posting on X the viral meme of Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man.

However, Ivana was not the only mistake made by those in charge of the list of honorees. Midfielder Aitana Bonmati, World Cup player of the tournament and UEFA Player of the Year, also had her name misspelt in Tuesday’s edition of BOE.

The blunder comes among the headlines generated by Spanish soccer chief Luis Rubiales‘ after he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England in the final in Sydney on Aug. 20.

He also grabbed his crotch while standing close to Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter.

Coach Jorge Vilda, one of his closest allies, was sacked on Tuesday, 10 days after FIFA suspended Rubiales for his behaviour that has sparked outrage in Spain and abroad.

Reuters

Reuters6 September 2023 18:30
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Sacked Spain manager Jorge Vilda defends clapping Luis Rubiales’ ‘I will not resign’ speech

Jorge Vilda feels it was “unfair” for him to be sacked as Spain’s Women coach after winning the World Cup in the fallout from the scandal involving the Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales.

Vilda was the only member of the women’s national team coaching set-up not to resign in protest at the behaviour of Rubiales at the end of the World Cup final, but the Spanish football federation (RFEF) confirmed his dismissal on Tuesday afternoon.

The former head coach was seen applauding Rubiales at an emergency RFEF general assembly when he announced on August 25 that he would not resign over his actions in Sydney.

Sacked Jorge Vilda defends clapping Luis Rubiales’ ‘I will not resign’ speech

Vilda’s side beat England to lift the World Cup in Sydney but he was removed from his post two weeks later

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 18:00
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Luis Rubiales - LATEST NEWS

Spanish football star Jenni Hermoso has filed a legal complaint over an unsolicited kiss by football federation boss Luis Rubiales following Spain’s win over England in the Women’s World Cup final, the national prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

With the complaint, Rubiales could face criminal charges in addition to the ongoing probe by Spain’s top sport court for “serious misconduct” and an investigation by world governing body Fifa.

The kiss occurred minutes after Spain won the World Cup, immediately prior to lifting the trophy as the squad received their medals and passed a line of dignitaries - one of which was Rubiales in his position as president of the Spanish football association (Rfef). There, he was seen planting a kiss on Rubiales’ lips - which the player says was not consensual and Rubiales insists was.

While the crisis engulfing Spanish football has centred around Rubiales’ position and conduct, it has not been limited to the president, with head coach Jorge Vilda sacked from his post this week and claiming it to have been an “unfair” decision.

Rubiales, meanwhile, continues to protest his innocence in the situation, releasing a statement to say “justice will be served” and that “information [...] is being subjected to numerous manipulations, lies, and censorship”.

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 17:30
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Dear men, a kiss is never just ‘a kiss’

woody Allen, who at 87 should know better, has waded into the debate about Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales’ full-throttle grab of world-cup-winning footballer Jenni Hermoso.

“The kiss on the soccer player was wrong,” he concedes, “but he did not burn down a school… they didn’t hide, nor did he kiss her in a dark alley. He wasn’t raping her, it was just a kiss and she was a friend. What’s wrong with that?”

In Hermoso’s view, quite a lot was wrong with it – she has today filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office in Spain over the unsolicited kiss.

Allen’s bar for male behaviour in professional life is set as low as one would expect from someone who cast a 16-year-old as his love interest in Manhattan when he was 42, and as a 56-year-old was alleged to have taken naked photos of the 21-year-old daughter of his long-term partner.

The surprise isn’t that he believes this, but that in 2023 he still feels emboldened to express the view that a kiss is “just” a kiss (so long as it’s not down a back alley) shows “just” how big the gulf is between how many men and women see things. And for how long women have “just” had to laugh so many incidents off.

Every woman has their own “kisstory” – their grope account, (per)version of events, a chronicle of handsyness – that is activated when events like this become public. Hermoso allegedly laughing off Rubiales’s assault has been used in evidence against her, but all women know that instinct to minimise the upset because to make a fuss is just too embarrassing.

Christina Hopkinson’s comment for Indy Premium:

Dear men, a kiss is never just ‘a kiss’| Christina Hopkinson

So, Woody Allen, let me tell you from personal experience why you’re so wrong to defend that unwanted World Cup kiss, writes Christina Hopkinson

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 17:00
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Hermoso accusation could lead to criminal case

Rubiales was suspended from his post by FIFA on Aug. 27, a day after he refused to step down when he delivered a defiant speech to the general assembly of his federation in which he said he was victim of a "witch hunt" by "false feminists." Rubiales was banned from his post for 90 days while the body's disciplinary judges consider his case. FIFA can impose sanctions on individuals ranging from warnings and fines to suspensions from the sport.

The 46-year-old Rubiales also faces action from the Spanish government. A government legal panel overseeing sports has opened a probe to determine if he abused his authority by kissing Hermoso or tainted the image of Spain with his conduct. He faces being deemed unfit to hold his post for up to two years.

He could also face a no-confidence vote by the federation, a move that the institution has yet to make despite having asked him to resign.

But the decision by Hermoso represents the biggest challenge to Rubiales so far since it could lead to a criminal case.

The prosecutor's office said Hermoso made the accusation on Tuesday. Prosecutors had said last week that they were going to meet with Hermoso to give her the opportunity to present an accusation against Rubiales.

Hermoso, a 33-year-old forward, now plays for Mexican club Pachuca after a long career with top Spanish and European clubs, including Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

Rubiales' behavior at the final, which included a lewd crotch grab while next to dignitaries including Spain's queen and teenage princess, combined with his controversial speech have torn Spanish soccer apart.

Associated Press6 September 2023 16:40
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Luis Rubiales crisis: How Spanish FA president fell from grace

Luis Rubiales is facing renewed calls to resign as the fallout from his actions during and after the Women’s World Cup final continues.

In the moments after Spain secured their first Women’s World Cup crown, Rubiales kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent.

Footage subsequently emerged showing the 46-year-old grabbing his crotch in celebration during the win over England while stood in close proximity to Queen Letizia of Spain.

The former defender had been widely expected to step down from his role after calling a press conference on Friday 25 August, but instead attempted to justify his behaviour, describing the outcry after the final as “a social assassination”.

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 16:20
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Luis Rubiales is just the latest crisis in Spanish FA’s dark history

Luis Rubiales was completely isolated and yet still officially the head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (Rfef). It is an absurd situation that symbolises so much about a story that is at once so serious and also utterly farcical, not least when it comes to the organisation itself.

The regional chiefs that form the Rfef’s assembly finally turned on Rubiales by requesting his resignation, but they don’t actually have the power to force it. The 46-year-old still has to take the decision, which would come just days after he repeatedly announced: “I am not resigning!”. In the meantime, he is suspended from all football-related activities by Fifa, which could take it even further once its investigation concludes.

So much of this story has developed from Rubiales’ distinctive personality, to put it generously. And yet the very fact such a personality is so difficult to remove from the role is a reflection of something much bigger, which has also provoked even more discussions about what Spanish football has been and where it is going.

Miguel Delaney on the dismal state of Spanish football affairs:

Luis Rubiales is just the latest crisis in Spanish FA’s dark history

The Spain players’ complaints about Rubiales and manager Jorge Vilda echo disturbing events under the previous regime in what is a deep-rooted problem in the Spanish Football Federation, writes Miguel Delaney

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 16:00
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Spain men’s manager asks for ‘forgiveness’ after applauding Luis Rubiales speech

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente has apologised for applauding a speech made by Luis Rubiales, in which he refused to resign as president of the Spanish football federation.

Amid calls for his own resignation, De La Fuente has named his squad for European Championship qualifiers against Georgia and Cyprus.

Speaking to the press, he admitted making an “unjustifiable mistake” and apologised for clapping the speech from Mr Rubiales.

“I don’t think I need to resign, I need to ask for forgiveness,” De La Fuente said. “I made a mistake, a human mistake, and I said it is unjustifiable.”

Watch the video here.

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 15:40
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Sacked Spain manager Jorge Vilda defends clapping Luis Rubiales’ ‘I will not resign’ speech

Jorge Vilda feels it was “unfair” for him to be sacked as Spain’s Women coach after winning the World Cup in the fallout from the scandal involving the Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales.

Vilda was the only member of the women’s national team coaching set-up not to resign in protest at the behaviour of Rubiales at the end of the World Cup final, but the Spanish football federation (RFEF) confirmed his dismissal on Tuesday afternoon.

The former head coach was seen applauding Rubiales at an emergency RFEF general assembly when he announced on August 25 that he would not resign over his actions in Sydney.

During the presentation ceremony Rubiales had kissed Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips – something she says she did not consent to – and he grabbed his crotch in the VIP area celebrating the win, stood just metres from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter.

Rubiales was suspended by Fifa the following day, pending an investigation into his conduct.

Concerns over Vilda’s coaching methods and regime were reported to have been a key factor in 15 Spain players refusing to play for the national team last year.

Sacked Jorge Vilda defends clapping Luis Rubiales’ ‘I will not resign’ speech

Vilda’s side beat England to lift the World Cup in Sydney but he was removed from his post two weeks later

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 15:20
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BREAKING: Luis Rubiales could face criminal charges after Hermoso files official complaint

Spanish football star Jenni Hermoso has filed a legal complaint over the unsolicited kiss by football federation boss Luis Rubiales following Spain’s win in the Women’s World Cup, the national prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

With the complaint, Rubiales could face criminal charges in addition to the ongoing probe by Spain’s top sport court for “serious misconduct” and an investigation by world governing body Fifa.

The kiss occurred minutes after Spain won the World Cup, immediately prior to lifting the trophy as the squad received their medals and passed a line of dignitaries - one of which was Rubiales in his position as president of the Spanish football association (Rfef). There, he was seen planting a kiss on Rubiales’ lips - which the player says was not consensual and Rubiales insists was.

More details here:

Rubiales could face criminal charges after Hermoso’s official complaint over kiss

Rubiales has been suspended by Fifa during an investigation but has refused to resign his post

Karl Matchett6 September 2023 15:00

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