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Soccer

Luis Rubiales Finally, Belatedly Resigns

8:58 AM EDT on September 11, 2023

RFEF president Luis Rubiales pumps his fists and pulls a stupid face at the World Cup medal ceremony. Rubiales resigned on Sept. 10 in the aftermath of forcibly kissing Spain star Jenni Hermoso on the mouth during that ceremony.
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Luis Rubiales resigned as president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) on Sunday, finally yielding to virtually unanimous public will in the aftermath of his having kissed Spain women's national team star Jenni Hermoso on the mouth during the Aug. 20 ceremony celebrating the country's triumph at the 2023 World Cup. All it took was a deafening, uninterrupted, worldwide three-week cannonade aimed at his crotch to do it.

Because he is an absolute heap of shit, in his resignation statement Rubiales expressed neither remorse nor contrition for the kiss or its fallout, but rather copped a stance of victimhood and heroic self-sacrifice, citing the "persecution" and "falsehoods" he and his family have suffered and expressing a belief that "on the street, more and more each day, the truth is prevailing." He framed his choice to resign—from the RFEF as well as from his vice-presidency at UEFA, soccer's governing body in Europe—as a matter of protecting a joint bid by Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and (of all places) Ukraine to host the 2030 World Cup. It comes to the same thing, however he rationalizes it: The RFEF will have a new president, and Rubiales will have to find a new job to be bad at.

Rubiales also taped a video interview with great big English turd-man Piers Morgan, voicing his resignation and recapitulating all the bullshit about it being an act of noble selflessness done on behalf of his loved ones and the 2030 World Cup bid. I recommend watching it, if only for the amazing moment of As a father of daughters, beloved of at least two women commiseration these two gigantic shitheads share at the outset:

In truth this resignation is something of a formality, if not quite redundant just yet. Though forcibly removing the federation president against his will apparently turns out to be a somewhat complicated job, Rubiales had lost virtually all public support (apart from his hunger-striking mom), has been under a provisional 90-day suspension since Aug. 26, and has to have known that even other RFEF heavyweights sympathetic to his position would happily feed him to piranhas for the sake of establishing a firebreak around their own dealings. Any chance career consequences might pass him by evaporated weeks ago, during Rubiales's unhinged, psychotic public address to the RFEF on Aug. 25, at which he characterized criticism of the kiss as a "social assassination" by "fake feminists" and made bizarre and obviously false claims about Hermoso having, like, power-lifted him into her lips against his will.

What a wild and upside-down few weeks it's been for Spain's soccer apparatus. In the little more than three weeks since La Roja defeated England 1-0 to claim the women's national team's first ever World Cup title, both the team's despised head coach, Jorge Vilda, and now the head of the RFEF have lost their jobs. Both men's present unemployment can be attributed pretty much directly to the very celebration of that victory, which for even marginally less ridiculous people in their shoes might have stood forever as the joyous pinnacle of their professional lives.

Had Spain not defeated England, the post-match medal ceremony during which Rubiales grabbed Hermoso by the sides of her face and kissed her on the mouth without her consent would not have happened. Had the kiss never happened, Rubiales would not have had occasion to rant like a psycho to the televised RFEF assembly, making himself about as radioactive as a person can be without emitting a blue glow. Had Rubiales not delivered that speech, Vilda would not have had an opportunity to applaud, dumbly and extremely visibly, some of the most insane and repulsive shit any public figure has said on the record in the past year, annihilating whatever transient unearned goodwill he might have accrued by riding to the sport's absolute summit like a louse hidden on somebody's scalp. All of which is to say that Spain's players won a lot more than a shiny trophy in the World Cup final. Exactly how much they'll win remains to be sorted out.

This brings ... well, maybe not quite a conclusion, but for the moment a very satisfying chapter break to the now years-long story of hostilities between the RFEF and Spain's women's soccer players. Many of the same players who protested the program's sexism and amateurish management back in 2022, and who stood with Hermoso and rightly called for Rubiales's firing after the kiss, are on strike right now, demanding fair pay and equitable treatment from La Liga. That's shaping up to be a much bigger, longer, and more grueling fight than over whether some strutting worthless jackass gets to keep his job. Still, maybe they can lob his head over the wall, for whichever other strutting worthless jackasses might need warning.

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