According to a report on Thursday by Cadena Ser radio, Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF), plans to resign on Friday after FIFA initiated disciplinary action against him for planting an unwanted kiss on Jenni Hermoso’s mouth during celebrations following Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory.
When awarding the players their medals following their 1-0 victory against England in the final in Sydney on Sunday, Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips and drew criticism.
Many people, including government officials, demanded his resignation after the episode caused uproar both within and outside of Spain.
After FIFA initiated disciplinary procedures against Rubiales and Hermoso issued a statement stating that such actions “should never go unpunished,” pressure increased throughout the week.
As the anger escalated, Rubiales—who had earlier referred to his detractors as “idiots”—released a video apology late on Monday, but it was ineffective at calming things down.
A spokesman for the RFEF refused to comment.
In order to consider Rubiales’ future and choices for a prospective replacement, regional leaders of the RFEF met in crisis on Thursday in Madrid, a source told Reuters.
According to the source, Pedro Rocha, president of the Extremadura football federation, and Pablo Lozano, president of the Andalusia federation, are the front-runners to replace Rubiales.
In 2009, Rubiales, who had previously played for many teams in Spain’s lower leagues, ended his playing career with Hamilton Academical in Scotland.
He was elected president of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) a year later and served in that capacity until he declared his candidacy for the RFEF’s top post in 2017. In May 2018, he won election.
In response to the arrest of former president Angel Maria Villar on corruption allegations, he pledged to modernize the organization, boost turnover, and promote transparency.
The startling decision to fire Spain manager Julen Lopetegui two days before to their first World Cup match and charges of malfeasance about a multimillion-euro contract to move the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia were just two of the many scandals that plagued Rubiales’ term in office.
The Spain women’s team had a mutiny in September of last year when a sizable contingent of players requested the dismissal of longtime coach Jorge Vilda. Vilda dropped 12 of the 15 players implicated in the disagreement from his World Cup roster after receiving support from the RFEF.