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World Cup kiss controversy

'He should go now': Angry reaction after Luis Rubiales refuses to resign as head of Spanish football

Some of the big names in the footballing world in Spain have spoken out after Rubiales did a U-turn and revealed he would not step down as president of the RFEF

Isaac Asenjo

Madrid

Friday, 25 August 2023, 18:36

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Luis Rubiales confirmed this Frday that he was going to resign from his post, and clung on to his position as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) at an extraordinary assembly meeting of the ruling body. Rubiales instead presented himself as a victim before a packed assembly that paid homage to him and cheered his every word, even when he referred to the "social pressure" he is being subjected to as the "scourge of false feminism". But his speech this Friday angered many outside the meeting. Now, dozens of footballers from different backgrounds have united to send a common message: "It's over".

The first to speak out was the queen of women's football in Spain. "This is unacceptable," said Alexia Putellas the latest winner of the World Player of the Year award in a simple social media message.

The former captain of the national team and current Barcelona player was the first, followed by an unstoppable cascade of messages closing ranks around Spain's number 10. Cata Coll, goalkeeper of the women's national team that triumphed in Australia, joined the Mollet del Vallès player by saying "there are limits that cannot be crossed and we cannot tolerate this. We are with you".

Other key players on the national scene such as Patri Guijarro, Nerea Eizagirre, Lola Gallardo and Mapi León, four of those who resigned from playing in the World Cup with Jorge Vilda at the helm, also backed the top scorer in the history of La Roja.

"It's regrettable to get to this point to believe that the complaints of months ago were real," said Patri Guijarro.

"People who had to give up their dreams to defend values and basic and dignified conditions have been proved right. It is shameful and unacceptable," said the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper, Maite Oroz, who was left out of the World Cup squad.

Messages of support also poured in from athletes in other disciplines.

And the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE), which Rubiales led for years, also issued a damning statement.

After describing the speech of its former president as "embarrassing", the AFE said that in the face of "the grotesque performance, Luis Rubiales should not continue to be at the head of the RFEF for one more minute. He should go now". The association went on to lament that "incredibly" Rubiales presented himself as "the victim with his explanations at the assembly".

The AFE also considered that after this Friday's meeting, "the image of Spanish sport, both nationally and internationally, is once again being seriously damaged by Luis Rubiales, who with his actions is endangering Spain's bid to host the 2030 World Cup more and more every day".

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