Spain issue grovelling apology for Luis Rubiales scandal and promise governance reform

Spain issue grovelling apology for Luis Rubiales scandal and promise governance reform

Spanish football has issued a grovelling apology for Luis Rubiales’ behaviour at the Women’s World Cup and promised wide-ranging reform in the wake of the kissing row.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) chief has faced a global backlash for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s 1-0 win over England in the World Cup final on August 20. He is serving a 90-day Fifa ban which precludes him from all football activity.

A statement on Tuesday said: “The Royal Spanish Football Federation, through its President, Mr Pedro Rocha, considers it is essential to present the most sincere apologies to the football institutions (Fifa, Uefa, FAs), the players, especially the players of the Spanish National Football Team and the English National Football Team, all stakeholders involved in football and the fans around the world, for the totally unacceptable behaviour of its highest institutional representative during the final of the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023 and in the moments that followed.

“Those actions do not reflect at all the values of the whole Spanish society, its institutions, its representatives, its athletes and the leaders of Spanish sport. Spanish society is an example of tolerance and civility, in all social and political spheres and has been an example of behaviour 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.”

Rubiales faces a preliminary sexual assault investigation and has faced calls to resign by regional chiefs in his own federation. The RFEF also say they are providing support required to world football’s governing body.

Spain’s coaching staff, bar coach Jorge Vilda, have since resigned while the men’s team took the significant step of releasing a statement on Monday that condemned his behaviour.

But the RFEF have announced a thorough review of the organisation’s policies and say they will announce a set of guidelines to “improve the governance of the Spanish Football federation and to repair, as far as possible, the damage caused.”

Rubiales also grabbed his crotch while celebrating in the VIP area in Stadium Australia, with Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter standing nearby. He has previously apologised but has steadfastly refused calls to resign, attracting further criticism.

“To be clear, this position was that of Mr Rubiales, not that of the RFEF,” the organisation’s statement continued.

“We are particularly saddened and embarrassed by the additional hurt and distress this has caused. The actions of Mr Rubiales do not represent the values defended by the Spanish Federation, nor the values of Spanish society as a whole, and his actions must be attributed solely and exclusively to him, since he is the only one responsible for his actions before society, before the sporting bodies and, if applicable, before the courts.”

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