Luis Rubiales, the president with the ‘huge ego’ at the centre of Spanish football’s sexism storm


Even earlier than Luis Rubiales had planted a kiss on Jenni Hermoso’s lips throughout Spain’s World Cup celebration, different officers in the stadium have been so struck by his behaviour that they have been sending round movies. One, confidentially despatched to The Independent, exhibits the president of the Spanish soccer federation showing to seize his crotch in triumph. The gesture, which matches again to Ancient Rome, is usually taken to imply “I’m the man”.

It is actually an aggressively masculine gesture, making all of it the extra out of place at a ladies’s soccer match that’s outlined by its inclusivity. It feeds into one of many rising arguments in Spain, that Rubiales didn’t know comport himself at such an occasion, elevating additional questions over his suitability to supervise the federation. That the Queen of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter have been near him has solely added to that.

There continues to be the sense that Rubiales doesn’t actually know what he did mistaken in the kiss on Hermoso. If a broadly criticised non-apology was not indicative sufficient, there have been his litany of feedback earlier than it.

Rubiales had described those that took challenge with his “public show of affection” as “idiots”, “stupid”, “fools” and “losers” earlier than summing all of it up as “bulls**t”. His subsequent apology then just about amounted to being sorry if anybody was offended.

That occurs to quantity to loads of folks, who’re queuing as much as condemn the Spanish official in an argument that’s nowhere close to quietening down.

Miquel Iceta, the minister for tradition and sport in Spain, described it as “unacceptable”. Yolanda Diaz, the second deputy prime minister of Spain, has mentioned Rubiales ought to resign as a result of “a woman has been harassed and assaulted”. Irene Montero, the minister for equality, went furthest and described it as a “form of sexual violence”.

Such phrases are starting to vary the view of some in Spanish soccer that as traditional, nothing will occur.

Some of Rubiales’ behaviour got here inside the vicinty of Queen Letizia and Princess Infanta Sofia


The state of affairs has now gone past strain rising. While the kiss is clearly adequate for such an argument by itself, it comes amid a wider context that goes past Rubiales’ backing of supervisor Jorge Vilda regardless of participant complaints that included not being allowed to lock doorways of their resort rooms on worldwide responsibility till 2019.

Sources inside Spanish soccer have been utilizing phrases like “embarrassment” and “a disgrace that people like this represent our game”.

Newspaper El Pais in the meantime ran an editorial lamenting how a second of glory for Spain’s ladies’s footballers, who have been having fun with the reward of the entire planet, was overshadowed by the behaviour of a person.

Rubiales has beforehand prompted such ructions in the recreation, nevertheless, that different figures have been all too keen to privately Whatsapp different headlines.

Among them was the story: “The ex-boss of Rubiales’ cabinet says he paid for orgies with federation money,” in relation to personal events reportedly organised. Rubiales denies it.

Another read: “Luis Rubiales acquitted of the accusation of assault of the architect who renovated his house,” in a case that additionally noticed him accused of utilizing cash from the participant’s union – of which he was president – to pay for the work.

And then: “Rubiales deal with [Gerard] Pique for a €24m pitch to bring the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia – ‘you are left with six kilos’”, after a sequence of leaks confirmed some controversial offers with the former Spanish defender.

Rubiales appeared to seize his crotch throughout the victory celebrations

(The Independent)

Up to all of this, nevertheless, he had most likely been finest recognized exterior Spain for the bombshell choice to sack males’s supervisor Julen Lopetegui two days earlier than the 2018 World Cup, a name that despatched the Spanish group right into a tailspin last-16 exit. It’s one of these historic quirks that the state of affairs nearly represents the inverse of that with Vilda, whom he has stood by.

In the case of Lopetegui, Rubiales felt he had no selection as a result of the supervisor had disrespected the federation by agreeing to take a job with Real Madrid after that World Cup with out informing them. With Vilda, Rubiales felt Spain’s insurgent gamers – some of whom boycotted the Women’s World Cup – had disrespected each the supervisor and the federation, so backed the supervisor adamantly. It was repeatedly identified that he and Vilda have a robust relationship and Vilda’s father, Jorge, is at the moment head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)’s ladies’s soccer division.

Either manner, compromise was by no means a lot of a consideration in both state of affairs, though the latter did drive adjustments to ladies’s group preparation requirements and services. Some of the victorious gamers stay aggrieved they even needed to ask and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas made a noteworthy remark in the second of victory.

“You’ve seen that the minute women’s footballers believe a little and are provided with basic facilities, everything comes out better.”

Rubiales’ defenders – and there are quite a lot of – would say this exhibits an evolution.

He was lower than a month into the job when the Lopetegui incident occurred in June 2018 and was already seen as a major enchancment on predecessor Angel Maria Villar, who was suspended as president after being detained the earlier July on allegations of collusion, embezzlement and falsifying paperwork.

On sacking Lopetegui, Rubiales got here out with the following: “These are the values of the new federation and whoever doesn’t like it will have to get used to it.”

Rubiales rose to the position after his work with the Association of Spanish Footballers, the place his expertise in main squads by way of chapter and administration at lower-profile golf equipment whereas nonetheless a participant was significantly valued.

Rubiales’ undesirable kiss on Jenni Hermoso overshadowed the Spanish celebrations


One such name to assist truly got here at his final membership, which occurred to be Scottish aspect Hamilton Academical. One of the final issues he heard on his fourth and last look in Scotland – a 4-1 defeat at Rangers – was the chant: “Baldy bastard, what’s the score?”

A defender, Rubiales wasn’t seen as having the typical technical ability of Spanish gamers, however was revered for his tenacity.

He was at Hamilton in the season that ended with Spain successful the males’s World Cup in South Africa, which considerably cuts throughout any purported wider affect on the ladies’s success. It was Spain’s teaching revolution round the flip of the millennium that led to the rise of each of Spain’s world champions, and Rubiales was at golf equipment like Gaudix and Lleida as this was taking place.

It must be confused he’s seen as a moderniser in different methods, although, for a federation that badly wanted it. It is beneath Rubiales {that a} division of integrity and safety has been created. And “Rubi”, as he insists employees at the federation name him, was additionally influential in an important transfer that has been seen as decisive in doubtlessly bringing the 2030 World Cup to Spain. Although many had felt Saudi Arabia would win that bid by way of their rising affect, bringing in Morocco with Portugal and Spain has cut up the African vote and primarily compelled the Gulf state out of the course of.

Those who’ve labored with Rubiales at Uefa degree in the meantime describe him as “ambitious” and “capable”, however with a “huge ego”, that results in loads of abrasiveness. He has already fallen out with the successive regime at the participant’s union and La Liga president Javier Tebas. Many would say that’s nothing new. Otherwise, that perceived modernity at federation degree now stands in distinction to the regressive behaviour of the previous couple of days.

El Pais described the kiss as “like a bad joke from Benny Hill”. Unfortunately, it’s only getting increasingly more critical.

Rubiales seemed like he was actually feeling it at Monday’s victory parade. There have been no movies of his behaviour there as he was very restrained and didn’t seem on stage.

In the phrases of one supply, it’s about time.


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