Former RFEF President Luis Rubiales has finally stepped down from his position, following weeks of sustained public pressure to do so. Rubiales’ non-consensual kiss of Jenni Hermoso is still disputed, but comes following a series of events that in his own words have made it impossible to continue.
Over the five years of his tenure, Rubiales has been involved in numerous scandals, but the kiss scandal spiralled into a global story, that eventually led to his downfall.
Sunday the 20th of August
Following the event itself, Rubiales came on the radio and called those talking about it ‘idiots’. Hermoso shortly after appeared in a live stream talking to her teammates saying ‘What was I supposed to do? I didn’t like it though, eh’. Later that evening, the RFEF communications department published a statement from Hermoso playing down the incident, saying they had a great relationship, and that it was a spontaneous gesture of mutual affection.
Monday the 21st of August
The next day, Monday, Rubiales apologised in a video in case he had offended anyone, and said that there were no bad intentions on either side. Spain were travelling back to Madrid to begin celebrations.
Tuesday the 22nd of August
However it then emerged on Tuesday after they arrived home that Hermoso’s statement were not her words, nor approved by her. It also emerges that Hermoso, her family, and captain Ivana Andres were pressured into appearing in Rubiales’ apology video, but refused. As Rubiales and the Spain squad were welcomed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who greeted the then RFEF President coldly. At the press event, he explained that Rubiales’ actions were unacceptable, and asked for Rubiales to take further steps. Vice-President Yolanda Diaz demanded his resignation.
Wednesday the 23rd of August
Hermoso emits a statement, via her agency TMJ and union FUTPRO, saying that they will defend her interests the next day, and the Ministry for Sport receive a formal complaint against Rubiales demanding his suspension.
Thursday the 24th of August
FIFA open a disciplinary case on the Thursday, with reports breaking that Rubiales will resign late on Thursday night.
Friday the 25th of August
A general assembly for the RFEF is called by Rubiales in theory to do so. However in a speech that travels the world, Rubiales shouts ‘I will not resign’, claiming he has been the victim of a social assasination and accuses politicians of ‘false feminism’. He also threatens legal action against Hermoso and said politicians, alleging that the kiss was consensual and Hermoso was lying. Rubiales is applauded out, including by national team managers Jorge Vilda and Luis de la Fuente.
Later that day a social media backlash, led by Alexia Putellas, builds against him, as clubs and players condemn his speech. Hermoso releases a statement saying she was the victim of a sexist assault, that she felt vulnerable and that it was not consented. 79 players co-sign a statement released by FUTPRO, saying they will no play until changes are made. All 23 World Cup winners are included.
Saturday the 26th of August
On the Saturday, the RFEF emit a statement denying Hermoso’s side of the story, with four pictures that they say prove it was consensual. FIFA suspend Rubiales for 90 days, the Ministry for Sport take the case to the Tribunal for Sport, hoping to gain up to a 15-year suspension for a ‘very serious’ infraction.
Pedro Rocha takes over as interim president of the RFEF after Rubiales sacks the others. The women’s national setup put their jobs at the RFEF’s disposal, de la Fuente and Vilda put out statements condemning ‘inappropriate behaviour’ from Rubiales, but without further explanation of their actions nor support for Hermoso.
Luis #Rubiales has resigned 17 days after kissing Jenni Hermoso without her consent.
He is still facing suspension from Spanish football and potential jail time for sexual assault and coercion. pic.twitter.com/KcS1p3mnPC
— Football España (@footballespana_) September 11, 2023
Monday the 28th of August
The public prosecutor opens an investigation into Rubiales for sexual assault. The RFEF demand Rubiales’ resignation, while Rubiales’ mother locks herself in a church in his hometown of Motril, demanding the end to what she calls a ‘witchhunt’.
Tuesday the 29th of August
The RFEF demand Rubiales return his company property and equipment, while the Ministry for Sport send over material backing up their suspension case.
Thursday the 31st of August
The RFEF rule out elections before 2024, and a vote of no confidence in Rubiales. His mother retires from her hunger striker after heading to hospital, two-and-a-half days after entering the churchg.
Friday the 1st of September
The Tribunal for Sport rule that Rubiales’ infraction is only ‘serious’, meaning the Ministry for Sport can only suspend him for a maximum of two years. They cannot suspend him provisionally before the disciplinary process is complete.
Monday the 4th of September
The Spain men’s team read out a prepared statement condemning Rubiales behaviour, asking the press to focus on the football thereafter.
Tuesday the 5th of September
Vilda is dismissed by Pedro Rocha, while his Assistant Montse Tome takes over. He claims the decision is unfair, while Real Madrid player Dani Carvajal says Rubiales must be treated as innocent until he is proven otherwise.
Wednesday the 6th of September
Hermoso gives a statement to the police on the non-consensual kiss, giving the public prosecutor sufficient evidence to press charges against Rubiales.
Friday the 8th of September
The public prosecutor bring charges of sexual assault and coercion against Rubiales.
Sunday the 10th of September
Luis Rubiales resigns on social media via Piers Morgan, the same interviewer that aided Cristiano Ronaldo to all but end his Manchester United career.