Spanish federation chief refuses to resign after kissing football player

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Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said on Friday he would not step down in the face of pressure from politicians, players, unions and FIFA for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s World Cup victory.

Speaking at an RFEF emergency assembly on Friday, Rubiales complained that “false feminists” were “trying to kill me”. He described the kiss as a peck that was “free, mutual and consensual”.

“Is a consensual peck going to take me out of here? I won’t resign. I will fight until the end,” Rubiales said, drawing applause from the predominantly male audience.

Condemnation has built throughout the week of the incident which occurred while the players were being handed their medals after they beat England 1-0 in the World Cup final on Sunday. As players filed past, Rubiales grabbed Hermoso by the head and planted a kiss on her mouth.

It culminated with FIFA opening disciplinary procedures against him on Thursday after Hermoso said in a statement on Wednesday that her union was working to defend her interests and that such acts should “never go unpunished”.

Rubiales initially reacted defiantly to the backlash, describing his critics as “idiots”. But he swiftly backtracked, posting an apology video recorded while flying back from Sydney.

As it became apparent that his apology had not gained traction – with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez describing it as “not enough” – regional leaders of the RFEF held a crisis meeting in Madrid on Thursday to discuss Rubiales’s future and options for a potential successor, a source told Reuters.