Luis Rubiales: Spain men’s team criticise RFEF president for ‘unacceptable behaviour’

A joint-statement from Spain’s men’s national team has criticised disgraced Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales for his behaviour at the 2023 World Cup and in the fallout of the country’s victory.

Rubiales kissed Spain forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the 1-0 win over England in the Women’s World Cup final and has refused to resign from his post, insisting the kiss was consensual. An investigation was launched into allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days in August – during which time his mother began a hunger protest in a church in Motril against the “inhuman and bloody hunt” of her son.

Spain’s men’s side, who face Georgia and Cyprus in Euro 2024 qualifying this month, released a statement read by captain Alvaro Morata and backed by senior squad members Rodri, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marco Asensio at an impromptu press conference.

It read: “We want to reject what we consider unacceptable behaviour on the part of Mr Rubiales, who has not lived up to the institution he represents.

“We firmly and unequivocally stand on the side of the values that this sport represents.

“Spanish football must be a driving force for respect, inspiration, inclusion, and diversity and must set an example with its behaviour both on and off the field.

“We want to convey, once again, our pride and heartfelt congratulations to the women’s national team for winning the World Cup in Sydney.

“It’s a historic milestone filled with significance that will mark a before and after in Spanish women’s football, inspiring countless women with an invaluable triumph.

“Therefore, we want to express our regret and solidarity with the players whose success has been tarnished.”

Men’s boss Luis de la Fuente was seen applauding Rubiales’ shocking press conference and later asked for “forgiveness”, adding he would not step aside because of what he claimed was an “inexcusable human error”.

He added: “I am on the side of equality and respect. We all have to improve in terms of equality and I am the first.”

Women’s coach Jorge Vilda – whose entire coaching stuff resigned in the aftermath – remains in post despite criticising Rubiales’ “inappropriate” and “unacceptable” behaviour.

81 female players – including each of the 23 World Cup winners – have said they will not play for Spain again while Rubiales remains in his role.