Updated Sep 10, 2023 - World

Luis Rubiales resigns as Spanish soccer president after World Cup kiss

Luis Rubiales, President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation looks on prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Semi Final match between Spain and Sweden at Eden Park on August 15, 2023 in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand.

Luis Rubiales, then-president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, in August. Photo: Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Luis Rubiales resigned as president of the Spanish Football Federation on Sunday following weeks of criticism for kissing a national soccer team player on the lips following their Women's World Cup win.

Driving the news: Rubiales could face criminal charges after both player Jenni Hermoso and a Spanish prosecutor last week filed legal complaints accusing him of sexual assault and coercion for the kiss that Rubiales said was "consensual," but the 33-year-old World Cup winner said was nonconsensual.

  • The national team refused to play for as long as Rubiales remained president, the Spanish football federation's regional leaders asked him to resign and soccer's world governing body FIFA suspended him in the wake of the incident.

What he's saying: "I will defend my honorability. I will defend my innocence," Rubiales said in an online post announcing his resignation Sunday.

  • "After the quick suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of open proceedings against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position," he added.
  • "Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football."

Go deeper: Spain coach Jorge Vilda fired in fallout of Rubiales' unwanted World Cup kiss

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more comment from Luis Rubiales and further context.

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