Best of 2023 – Rubiales resigns, now forced to act against his own will

Almost all of today’s sports newspapers in Spain featured images and stories of Luis Rubiales, the now-former chief of the Spanish Football Association, who has resigned after a period of controversy and denial. This comes following his controversial reluctance to step down despite mounting criticism, which prompted much irony from the Spanish press, particularly from the likes of Marca.

On the escalating tension, the Spanish men’s national team coach, Luis de la Fuente, stated that he “had been criticised for applauding Rubiales at the Assembly, all justified and well-deserved criticism. I apologise because these are indefensible actions: I have always been and will always be in favour of equality and respect”, adding to the narrative.

Rubiales defended himself, claiming he was a victim. He said: “It’s pointless clinging to my position because there are actual powers that will prevent my return”, wording that El Pais reported. Explaining his decision to resign, one that much of the country’s political class had been anticipating for some time, he argued he was acting with “noble” intentions, adding, “I don’t want Spanish football to be prejudiced by this excessive campaign”.

This might not be the final act of the drama, however. An article from El Pais proposes that the fallout from Rubiales’ behaviour towards the successful Spanish women’s national squad, particularly Jenni Hermoso, could involve further repercussions.

The paper wrote that “the soap opera following the National women’s football team’s World Cup victory and the Rubiales case has brought the work of the Sports Administrative Court (TAD) back into the spotlight, which is the body that will resolve the case opened against the suspended president of the RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation). The lawyers that make up this body will decide on the eventual sanction against Luis Rubiales for the kiss given to player Jenni Hermoso and for the inappropriate acts committed both on the podium of authorities and during the presentation of trophies” – a testimony suggesting a possible, albeit likely less frenzied, continuation to this saga that has unfolded since the day they claimed their World Cup victory.

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