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Majority of coaches on Spain’s women’s team resign as Luis Rubiales vows to fight on

Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso at end of Women’s World Cup  (ES)
Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso at end of Women’s World Cup (ES)

The majority of coaching staff for Spain’s women’s football team have resigned in protest against Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales was provisionally suspended as president of the Spanish FA by FIFA on Saturday after he grabbed and kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips at the end of the Women’s World Cup.

In a statement, eleven coaches and technical staff said they would resign in protest against the 46-year-old’s defiant stance about the kiss, which Hermoso has said was unwanted.

“The undersigned, in light of the unacceptable attitude and statements made by the head of the federation, have taken the decision to resign from their positions,” the statement said.

Rubiales has argued the kiss was consensual, despite it being condemned as unwanted by the player concerned and her teammates, and said he would defend his “complete innocence”.

In a statement, Hermoso said: “I want to reinforce the position I took from the beginning, considering that I do not have to support the person who has committed this action against my will, without respecting me, at a historic moment for me and for women’s sport.”

Earlier Saturday, FIFA suspended Rubiales from national and international activities with immediate effect while it investigates.

In a statement through the Spanish football federation, he said: “Luis Rubiales has stated that he will legally defend himself in the competent bodies, he fully trusts FIFA and reiterates that, in this way, he is given the opportunity to begin his defence so that the truth prevails and his complete innocence is proven.”

Reacting to the suspension, former England star and Barcelona player Gary Lineker posted on Twitter in Spanish: “Por fin! [At last].”

It comes after a chaotic press conference on Friday in which Rubiales refused to resign, despite pressure to do so, calling the kiss “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual".

“I will not resign,” Rubiales repeated four times in quick succession at the meeting before blaming “false feminists” for making him the victim of a “social assassination”.

In a statement hours before FIFA’s move on Saturday, the federation threatened to take legal action to defend Rubiales but did not say what that would be.

On Friday evening, all 23 of Spain’s cup-winning squad including Hermoso, as well as 32 other squad members, said they would not play internationals while Rubiales remained head of the federation.