Luis Rubiales' uncle and former chief of staff publicly maligned the Spanish soccer federation president after he kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso without her consent at the 2023 World Cup and refused to resign from his position despite calls from players, coaches, government officials and others.
Juan Rubiales told Spanish news site El Confidencial on Wednesday that he supports Hermoso against his nephew and that the younger Rubiales is, among many things, "a cowardly man."
"The Rubiales family is on the side of Jenni Hermoso," Rubiales said, translated from Spanish.
"[Luis Rubiales] is a proud, arrogant person and his great enemy is himself. ... He doesn't have the slightest dignity to get out of this trance in an honorable way. And what he has done is to embarrass this situation more and more every day. He is a person with a tendency to cowardice. He is a cowardly man."
Juan Rubiales joined his nephew when the latter became president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) in 2018. But the elder Rubiales left two years later after reports surfaced of irregularities with the RFEF's Super Cup negotiations with Saudi Arabia. In his interview with El Confidencial, Juan Rubiales described various instances where his nephew used federation funds to fuel private trips and parties as well as spy on David Aganzo, the president of the Spanish soccer players association.
"He is a man obsessed with power, luxury, money and even women," Rubiales added. "... I think he needs a social re-education program."
Luis Rubiales apologized a day after cameras caught him kissing Hermoso at the World Cup trophy ceremony. He was also seen grabbing his crotch on live television after Spain beat England. Hermoso later said in multiple statements she did not consent to the kiss.
The RFEF asked Rubiales to resign from his role as president Monday, days after FIFA provisionally suspended him for 90 days after his actions at the World Cup. Rubiales originally told the federation he would not step down last week. Most of the Spanish women's national team coaching staff resigned as a result and the entire team said they wouldn't play until Rubiales left the federation.
Rubiales' mother, Ángeles Béjar (the sister-in-law of Juan Rubiales), locked herself in a Spanish church and went on a hunger strike in defense of her son this week. She was reportedly admitted to a hospital on the third day of her strike.