Spain's football chief kissed a player without consent. He has finally resigned.

Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales has announced his resignation as president.

A Spanish prosecutor filed a complaint with the High Court against Rubiales last week for sexual assault and coercion over his allegedly unsolicited kiss on the lips of World Cup-winning player Jenni Hermoso.

Rubiales had also been suspended for three months from all football activities by FIFA pending an investigation by soccer's world governing body into his actions after Spain clinched their World Cup victory in Sydney on August 20.

"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 a statement on Sunday.

"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 soccer body UEFA.

Rubiales has insisted the kiss, on Hermoso following Spain's World Cup win last month, was consensual but the case has sparked outrage among players and many in wider Spanish society.

He appeared to continue to defend his version of events while announcing his resignation.

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

As Spain celebrated their grand final win against England at the FIFA Women's World Cup, Hermoso took to the podium to receive her medal. 

While the world watched on, Hermoso accepted her prize, and in a fleeting moment, Rubiales grabbed her face and kissed her on the lips. 


It was non-consensual and sparked an outcry from the public.

Hours later in an Instagram Live, Hermoso responded to the incident, saying: "I didn't like it. But what do I do?"

The very next day, in a joint statement released by the Spanish football federation, the 33-year-old player said that the kiss was merely an innocent gesture of affection amidst the celebrations.

"It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings," the statement read.

"The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude. A gesture of friendship and gratitude cannot be gone over so much, we have won a World Cup and we are not going to deviate from what is important."

The statement felt heavy-handed, fraught with PR-speak platitudes downplaying the kiss. It was transparent and the public saw right through it.

In the days that followed, pressure began mounting against Rubiales. Amnesty International even weighed in on the incident and released an official statement condemning the football chief.

"Amnesty International wants to show their support for the demands of the player, who has asked the (RFEF) to set underway 'exemplary measures' regarding the non-consensual kiss," read the statement. "(We) underline that this behaviour is a form of sexual violence like any other, and cannot be justified in any way."

Reports then broke from Spanish outlet Revelo, claiming Hermoso was pressured into releasing her original statement. It was alleged that she and her family were confronted numerous times, begging the player to downplay the incident. 


Rubiales faced the media to offer an apology when he appeared on COPE. He said he was "completely wrong" although continued to double down on the through line that it was an innocent act of celebration.

With the support of the world behind her, Hermoso came forward to call for "exemplary measures" to be taken against Rubiales. 

On August 24, football expert Guillem Balague tweeted that Rubiales would be stepping down as the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation. 


On August 26, Hermoso released an official statement on her social media in both English and Spanish.

"I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part," the statement read.

"I want to make it clear that at no time did the conversation to which Mr. Luis Rubiales refers to in his address take place, and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual. I want to reiterate as I did before that I did not like this incident."

The same day, the Spanish football federation put out their own statement backing Rubiales.


"Mr President's feet are ostensibly lifted from the ground as a result of the player's action," the statement said.

"The tests are conclusive. Mr President has not lied. The RFEF and Mr President will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself."

On August 27, FIFA suspended Rubiales from soccer duties for 90 days while its disciplinary committee investigates his conduct, after he refused to step down and told his federation that he was the victim of a "witch hunt" by "false feminists."

The next day, Rubiales' mother Ángeles Béjar said she had locked herself inside a church and begun a hunger strike that she said would continue until her receives "justice". Two days later, she admitted to hospital feeling 'tired and stressed out', but was soon discharged, ESPN reported.

On September 8, state prosecutors in Spain filed a lawsuit against Rubiales alleging sexual assault and coercion.

Hermoso's Spain teammates, along with more than 50 other women players, said they would not play for Spain as long as he remains.

"Luis Rubiales is finished," the president of Spain's women's league, Beatriz Álvarez, told AP. "He has dug his own grave with his acts and his words."

With his resignation — following three weeks of chaos — those words are finally true.

This article was originally published on August 29 and has since been updated.

-With AAP.

Feature Image: Getty.