How the Luis Rubiales unwanted kiss scandal unfolded

The Spanish FA chief has resigned after facing criticism for grabbing footballer Jenni Hermoso's head and kissing her on the lips.

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 25: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY - MANDATORY CREDIT - 'ROYAL SPANISH FOOTBALL FEDERATION / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Luis Rubiales, President of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), speaks during the extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly of the Spanish Football Federation in Madrid, Spain on August 25, 2023. In a shocking speech on Friday, the president of Spain's football federation refused to quit for kissing a female player while celebrating the World Cup victory. Luis Rubiales was widely expected to step down during an emergency meeting of Spain's football federation. Instead, he insisted he was the victim of the witch-hunt, gave lessons about
Luis Rubiales has refused to resign after he kissed player Jenni Hermoso when her team won the World Cup. (Getty)

Luis Rubiales has resigned as Spain's football association president after kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after his country's team beat England in the football World Cup.

The move came after weeks of criticism around the unwanted gesture, which prompted Hermoso to lodge an official complaint.

Hermoso, 33, said the kiss was not consensual.

Rubiales, 46, was suspended on Saturday by world governing body Fifa, a day after he insisted he would not resign, claiming the kiss was "mutual and consensual".

However, he said he could not “continue my work” during an interview on the TV show Piers Morgan Uncensored, tweeted to Morgan's followers on Sunday evening, and soon after posted on his own account that he would be resigning.

The regional presidents of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) have called for a "profound and immediate restructuring" of the organisation in light of the incident.

Acting sports minister Miquel Iceta welcomed the plan to restructure, saying: "It's over, no more discrimination for women."

In late August, Rubiales' mother went on hunger strike at a church in support of her son, who was also denounced by the United Nations, while feminist groups gathered in Madrid in support of Hermoso and against Rubiales.

The World Cup-winning squad refused to play while Rubiales remained in his post and the entire coaching staff also resigned, with the exception of manager Jorge Vilda.

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 28: Protesters during a demonstration called by feminist associations in support to Spain's player Jenni Hermoso, at Callao square on August 28, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. Prompted by Luis Rubiales' refusal to resign, protesters in Madrid are rallying against sexual violence in sport. Rubiales, the president of Spain's soccer federation, faces potential FIFA suspension over allegations of inappropriate behavior, including an unwanted kiss on player Jenni Hermoso's lips after Spain's Women's World Cup victory. 81 players from the national team have gone on strike, and the majority of Spain's women's coaching staff have resigned, intensifying the mounting pressure for Rubiales to step down from his position. (Photo by Aldara Zarraoa/Getty Images)
Protesters during a demonstration called by feminist groups in support of Spain player Jenni Hermoso and against Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales. (Getty Images)
The Minister of Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta, during a press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers, at the Moncloa Palace, on August 29, 2023, in Madrid (Spain). During the appearance, Iceta, has reiterated that the Government has acted with maximum speed in the 'Rubiales case'.
Spanish sports minister Miquel Iceta during a press conference in Madrid, where he backed a planned restructure of the Spanish football association. (Alamy)

Here, Yahoo News UK takes a look at the key events:

20 August: Spain FA chief kisses player

Rubiales kisses Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medals presentation after Spain’s victory over England in Sydney.

He had earlier grabbed his crotch in celebration while standing metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter in the stadium’s VIP area.

Hermoso initially posts on Instagram she "didn't like" Rubiales' actions but a statement is released later on her behalf that defends him.

Read more: Spain's Hermoso defends Rubiales kiss at Women's World Cup (AFP, 2 mins)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales (R) kisses Jennifer Hermoso of Spain (L) during the medal ceremony of FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on August 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Noemi Llamas/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Luis Rubiales, right, kisses Jenni Hermoso of Spain, left, during the World Cup final medal ceremony. (Getty Images)

21 August - Rubiales apologises

As criticism mounts, Rubiales issues a video apology late on Monday, after initially calling critics "idiots".

"Surely I was wrong, I have to admit," Rubiales said in the video statement sent by the federation.

"It was without bad faith at a time of maximum effusiveness."

But Spain's prime minister Pedro Sanchez said that was "not enough" and second deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz joined those calling for him to resign.

Read more: Spain soccer: Rubiales' apology over unsolicited kiss not enough - PM Sanchez (Reuters, 2 min)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Jenni Hermoso of Spain looks on during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on August 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Andrew Wiseman/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso said the kiss from Luis Rubiales was not consensual. (Getty Images)

24 August - Fifa opens disciplinary proceedings

On Thursday, football's world governing body Fifa said it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales, and the Spanish FA calls a general assembly on Friday, where Rubiales is expected to resign.

Fifa says in a statement: “The FIFA disciplinary committee informed Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Association, today that it is opening disciplinary proceedings against him based on the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ on August 20, 2023.”

The statement adds: “The events may constitute violations of article 13 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

“The FIFA disciplinary committee will only provide further information on these disciplinary proceedings once it has issued a final decision on the matter.

“FIFA reiterates its unwavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and strongly condemns any behaviour to the contrary.”

Read more: FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Luis Rubiales (Evening Standard, 3 mins)

25 August - Rubiales refuses to resign

Rubiales was widely expected to resign at an emergency federation meeting on Friday.

Instead, he repeatedly says he would not quit and complains that "false feminists" were "trying to kill me".

He says he had been the target of a “social assassination” and repeatedly and emphatically states “I will not resign”, words that drew applause from some of the gathered delegates.

Read more: Spanish FA chief blames player for World Cup kiss and shouts ‘I am not resigning!’ (Independent, 3 mins)

Watch: Hundreds protest in Madrid as Rubiales' mother goes on hunger strike

25 August - Spain World Cup winning players refuse to play

In a joint statement sent via their FUTPRO union, all 23 of the cup-winning squad including Hermoso, as well as 32 other squad members, said they would not play internationals while Rubiales remains head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

In the same statement, Hermoso denied Rubiales' contention that the kiss he gave her at the medal ceremony after Spain beat England 1-0 in the final in Sydney, Australia, was consensual.

"I do not tolerate it when my word is put into doubt and less so when words that I have not said are invented," she wrote.

Later, in a statement on social media on Friday, Hermoso added: "I felt vulnerable and a victim of aggression. I was simply not respected."

Read more: Spain’s world champions refuse to play while Luis Rubiales is president (PA, 4 mins)

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 22: Luis Rubiales attends a reception hosted by Pedro Sanchez, First Minister of Spain (not pictured) for the players and staff of the Spain women's national football team after they won the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 at Palacio de la Moncloa on August 22, 2023, in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 via Getty Images)
Luis Rubiales attends a reception after the Women's World Cup. (Getty)

25 August - Spanish government pushes to have Rubiales suspended

The Spanish government says it will push for the suspension of Rubiales after he refused to resign.

The government, which cannot sack Rubiales, will seek to have him suspended using a legal procedure before a sports tribunal, the head of the National Sports Council, Victor Francos, told reporters.

"We want all this to be a 'Me Too' of Spanish soccer," Francos said, adding it could suspend Rubiales during the investigation if the tribunal agrees.

If it can be proven that the kiss was non-consensual, Rubiales could even be tried under a sexual violence law introduced by the ruling Socialists last year.

26 August - Spanish football federation defends Rubiales

In a statement issued in the early hours of Saturday, the Spanish football federation said it would show there have been lies about what happened by Hermoso or people speaking for her.

The statement on its website said it would take legal action to defend Rubiales' honour, but did not say what the action would consist of.

In its statement early on Saturday, the federation said: "The RFEF and the President, given the seriousness of the content of the press release from the FUTPRO Union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions."

"Where there is rule of law ... opinions are counteracted with facts and evidence, and lies are rebutted in court."

"The RFEF and the President will show each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself," it said.

Read more: Spain's soccer federation stands by its chief amid uproar over kiss (Reuters, 3 mins)

26 August - Fifa provisionally suspends Rubiales

Fifa's Disciplinary Committee has provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days, it said on Saturday.

"The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee... has decided today to provisionally suspend Mr Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities at national and international level," Fifa said in a statement.

Its disciplinary committee also ordered Rubiales and RFEF officials and employees alike to refrain from contacting or attempting to contact Hermoso or those around her.

Read more: Fifa provisionally suspends Spanish football president Rubiales (Reuters, 1 min)

26 August - Spain coaching staff resigns

The entire Spanish World Cup winning coaching staff has resigned, with the exception of manager Jorge Vilda, due to the Rubiales controversy.

The resignations include assistant managers Montse Tome, Javier Lerga, and Eugenio Gonzalo Martin, as well as physio Blanca Romero Moraleda and goalkeeper coach Carlos Sanchez.

In addition to them, six others who were affiliated with the national side at different age levels have also stepped down.

Read more: Spanish women's national team coaching staff resigns amid Luis Rubiales scandal (Yahoo Sports, 2 mins)

28 August - Spanish football chiefs call for Rubiales to resign

The regional heads of Spanish football became the latest group to call for the resignation of Rubiales.

A statement from the regional presidents said: “After the latest events and the unacceptable behaviours that have seriously damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents request that Mr Luis Rubiales immediately present his resignation as president of the RFEF.

“We will urge the corresponding bodies to carry out a deep and imminent organic restructuring in strategic positions of the federation to give way to a new stage of management in Spanish football.”

Read more: Spain promises bigger role for women in sport as Rubiales asked to resign (Reuters, 3 mins)

28 August - Rubiales' mother goes on hunger strike

Rubiales’ mother announced she was going on hunger strike over the “inhuman” treatment of her son, according to reports in Spain.

His mother, Angeles Bejar, has locked herself in a church in Motril, and told Spanish news agency EFE the strike would continue "indefinite, day and night".

Images of the façade of the church where the confinement continues, on August 29, 2023, in Motril, Granada, (Andalusia, Spain). The confinement of Rubiales' mother continues after her first night in a parish church in Motril (Granada). AUGUST 29;2023 Álex Cámara / Europa Press 08/29/2023 (Europa Press via AP)
The church in Motril, Spain, where Luis Rubiales' mother has gone on hunger strike in support of her son. (AP)
MADRID, SPAIN - 2023/08/28: A protester chants slogans, demanding the expulsion of Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation during a demonstration called by feminist associations in support of Spain's midfielder Jenni Hermoso. Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation, was provisionally suspended by FIFA after giving midfielder Jenni Hermoso a forced kiss on the lips in the final of the Women's World Cup on August 20. (Photo by Guillermo Gutierrez Carrascal/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Protesters in Madrid call for the expulsion of Luis Rubiales as president of the Spanish football federation. (Getty Images)

She said the "inhuman and bloody hunt that they are doing with my son is something he does not deserve".

In Madrid, hundreds of people gathered in protests called by feminist groups in support of Hermoso and against Rubiales.

Read more: Luis Rubiales' mother goes on hunger strike in protest of 'bloodthirsty witch hunt' (Yahoo Sports, 2 mins)

29 August - Spanish sports minister: 'It's over'

Acting sports minister Miquel Iceta welcomed the plan to restructure the RFEF, saying: "It's over, no more discrimination for women.

"We are witnessing a real social and sporting backlash."

5 September

Hermoso formally submits a complaint about Rubiales to Spain’s national prosecutor’s office.

Head manager for Spain's women's football team, Jorge Vilda, resigns, the RFEF announce in a statement. Vilda led Spain to its first Women's World Cup championship win in August. Vilda was also the main subject of a mass resignation by Spanish women's soccer players in 2022. Fifteen players walked away from the team after they asked either Vilda to step down or for Rubiales to fire him. Players called Vilda's demeanor "dictatorial" and said the culture around the team negatively affected their mental health. After they won the World Cup, Spanish players visibly ignored Vilda during their post-match celebrations.

Read more: Spain women's soccer players resign en masse amid fight with federation, 'dictatorial' coach (Yahoo Sports, 4 mins)

8 September

Hermoso's complaint of sexual assault, and an allegation of coercion, is filed by Spain's national prosecutor's office to the high court.

Read more: Some apology! But maybe the ‘just a kiss’ FA boss has learned one thing… (Independent, 5 mins)

10 September

Piers Morgan posts an interview snippet with Rubiales on his X account, with the former Spanish FA president admitting he has decided to resign.

Around the same time, in a statement on his X account on Sunday evening, Rubiales says he has informed acting RFEF president Pedro Rocha that he is resigning, with the same applying to his position as a UEFA vice-president.

He writes: “After the rapid suspension carried out by FIFA, plus the rest of proceedings open against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position.

“Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football.

“I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power to prevail."

Read more: Rubiales resigns but still insists the ‘truth’ will prevail on Hermoso kiss (Football365, 3 mins)