Coaches Quit as FIFA Suspends Spain's Soccer Chief After Kiss

11 coaches and staff members for women's team denounce Luis Rubiales' actions and resign
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2023 12:35 PM CDT
Coaches Quit as FIFA Suspends Spain's Soccer Chief After Kiss
Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks with the nation's championship Women's World Cup soccer team in Madrid on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Global soccer's governing body suspended Luis Rubiales, the head of Spain's soccer federation, on Saturday while a disciplinary committee reviews allegations that he forcibly kissed a player during the Women's World Cup medal ceremony. Rubiales will be barred from all national and international soccer-related activities for an initial period of 90 days. "He fully trusts FIFA and reiterates that, in this way, he is given the opportunity to begin his defense so that the truth prevails and his complete innocence is proven," Spain's federation said in a statement, NPR reports.

Hours later, almost all of the team's coaches and staff members issued a letter in which they resigned "in light of the unacceptable attitude and statements made by the head of the federation." The letter was signed by 11 coaches and technical staffers. Rubiales defended the kiss in a speech Friday as consensual; Jenni Hermoso has said it was not. FIFA has ordered Rubiales not to contact her. The resignation letter said the staff was ordered to attend Rubiales' speech, per the Guardian. "This was particularly hurtful, as many of the female members of the coaching staff were obliged to sit in the front row," the letter said, suggesting they support Rubiales. Spain's team has pledged not to play until Rubiales is ousted.

His suspension was welcomed by players in Spain, some of whom—including Hermoso—say the problems with the treatment of female soccer players go beyond Rubiales. Ana Crnogorcevic, who plays for FC Barcelona, posted on social media: "This should be just the beginning … there are many more people that have to leave!!!" The Saturday edition of the Spanish sports daily Marca, per the AP, ran a photo of Rubiales at the assembly, smiling, with the headline, "Global Laughing Stock." (More Women's World Cup stories.)

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