(AFP) — The Spanish football federation on Tuesday sent its “most sincere apologies” for the “totally unacceptable behaviour” of suspended president Luis Rubiales over his forcible kiss on a Women’s World Cup player.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) offered its “most sincere apologies… 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”, it said in a statement.
Rubiales, 46, sparked worldwide outrage when he forcibly kissed Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony after Spain defeated England to win the Women’s World Cup in Sydney on August 20.
He has been suspended by FIFA pending an investigation but has refused to resign, defending the kiss as “just a peck” which he claimed was consensual.
But Hermoso said it was not and it had left her feeling like the “victim of an assault”.
“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 said in extending the apology to FIFA, UEFA “and especially the players of the Spanish national women’s team”.
Rubiales’ statements after the incident were “inappropriate and meaningless” and “not (the position) of the RFEF” which was “saddened and embarrassed” by the distress they had caused.
The federation, which initially came under fire for not calling for Rubiales’ resignation until eight days after the incident, said it had opened an investigation into his actions in order “to ensure that such behaviour is not repeated”.
It had also committed to conducting “a thorough review of all policies and procedures of the organisation”, pledging to present “in the coming days a whole set of actions to improve the governance of the Spanish football federation and to repair, as far as possible, the damage caused”.