Defiant Luis Rubiales has promised to ‘defend his innocence’ after announcing in an exclusive interview with Piers Morgan that he is quitting as Spanish FA president following the ‘Kissgate’ scandal.
The decision comes after weeks of speculation regarding Rubiales’ future after he kissed Jenni Hermoso in the aftermath of Spain winning the Women’s World Cup in August.
He tweeted as his decision to resign was made public on Piers Morgan Uncensored: ‘I will defend my honourability. I will defend my innocence.
‘I have faith in the future. I have faith in the truth. Thanks to everybody.’
He finished his tweet by posting a photo of the Spanish flag.
Luis Rubiales was seen kissing Spain’s Jenni Hermoso after the Women’s World Cup final
Rubiales has resigned as President of the Spanish FA after a controversial few weeks
Rubiales (left) announced his resignation in an exclusive interview with Piers Morgan (right)
In a long statement he released just before he took to Twitter, the dad-of-three said: ‘Today at 9:30pm, I transmitted to the acting President, Mr. Pedro Rocha, my resignation from the position of President of the RFEF.
‘I have also informed you that I have done the same with my position at UEFA so that my position in the Vice Presidency can be replaced.
‘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.
‘Insisting on waiting and clinging to it 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.
‘There is the management of my team and, above all, the happiness that I have for the enormous privilege of these more than five years at the head of the RFEF.
‘I do not want Spanish football to be harmed by this disproportionate campaign and, above all, I am making this decision after having made sure that my departure will contribute to the stability that will allow both Europe and Africa to remain united in the dream of 2030, which will allow the largest event in the world to be brought to our country.
‘I must look forward, look to the future.
‘Now there is something that occupies me firmly. I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power to make it prevail.
‘My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of excessive persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that on the street, more and more every day, the truth is prevailing.
‘From here I convey a big hug to all the workers, assembly members, federations and football people in general, wishing them the best of luck.
‘Thank you to everyone who has supported me during these times.’
Rubiales came under intense scrutiny in the immediate aftermath of the incident with Hermoso, with protests against his presidency taking place across Spain and high-profile individuals calling for him to resign.
FIFA handed him an initial 90-day suspension, and are pushing to ban him for longer, and the Spanish FA publicly apologised for his behaviour.
The statement from Rubiales’ replacement Pedro Rocha said: ‘Spanish society is an example of tolerance and civility, in all social and political spheres and has been an example of behavior and sporting decorum, as it has demonstrated for decades in all sporting events in which it has participated.
‘That nobility and international prestige of our society and our sport have been tarnished in recent days by the actions of Mr. Luis Rubiales. The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of football and sport as a whole has been enormous.
‘The RFEF wants to convey to the whole of society and to the whole of world football its deepest regret for what has happened, which has tarnished our national team, our football and our society.
‘We feel deeply sorry for the damage caused and therefore, we must ask for the most sincere apologies and acquire a firm and absolute commitment that [incidents] like these can never happen again.’
World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda was removed from his post following Rubiales’ suspension, not long after the outgoing president had offered him a new contract.
Rubiales is still facing the possibility of a criminal prosecution for sexual assault and coercion over his ‘unsolicited kiss’ on Spanish international Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s World Cup win over England.
The 33-year-old striker lodged a formal complaint last week before returning to Mexico where she plays her club football and prosecutors announced on Friday they had made their formal complaint to a judge at the Audiencia Nacional court in Madrid.
The former Spanish FA president has insisted the kiss was consensual and described it as a ‘peck.’
Hermoso filed formal complaint against Rubiales last week, describing the kiss as a ‘sexist act’ that happened without her consent
Rubiales was initially reluctant to step down despite being handed a 90-day suspension by FIFA
Protests took place across Spain calling on Rubiales to resign following the incident
The footballer has said the kiss left her feeling vulnerable and a victim of aggression. She has described it as ‘an impulsive, sexist act, out of place and without any type of consent on my part.’
Rubiales, who had apologised for grabbing his crotch during post-match celebrations in front of Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, had said in a lengthy statement last week before announcing his decision to quit: ‘The spontaneity and happiness of the historic moment led us to carry out a mutual and consensual act, a product of great enthusiasm.
‘At no time was there any aggression, indeed, there was not even the slightest discomfort, but an overflowing joy in both of us.’
Rubiales’ 72-year-old mum Angeles Bejar went on hunger strike at a church in her son’s hometown of Motril near Granada for two days after being rushed to hospital 48 hours into her protest.
She said she had launched it to get Jenni to ‘tell the truth’ about the kiss.
Speaking from the inside of the church before falling ill, she said: ‘I just want the truth to be told.
Rubiales sparked more outrage after footage emerged of him grabbing his crotch while celebrating Spain’s win in the vicinity of Spanish Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter
Rubiales mother, Angeles Bejar went on hunger strike at a church in the Costa resort of Motril, near Malaga
‘She knows my son is very honest. If she tells the truth everything will be fixed.’
Referring to the World Cup kiss that led to the so-called ‘Kissgate’ scandal, she added: ‘It was an anecdote, as she herself said, and look how far it’s gone.
‘She should have a conscience and act according to it.
‘My son is very worried and has asked me not to continue, to stop, but I will be here until I drop and my body can continue.’