Spanish men's football coach apologises for applauding Rubiales

By Isaac M September 2, 2023

The coach of the Spanish men’s national football team, Luis de la Fuente, has apologised for applauding Luis Rubiales during the speech in which he refused to resign. 

Mr Rubiales, 46, claimed in the speech last Friday that he was the victim of a “social assassination” after he was widely criticised for forcibly kissing player Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup presentation ceremony.

The men’s coach was sitting in the front row during Mr Rubiales’ speech and clapped when he attacked “false feminism”.

Jennifer Hermoso  is kissed by president of the RFEF Luis Rubiales during the FIFA Womens World Cup 2023 Final football match
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Jenni Hermoso is kissed by Luis Rubiales during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 final

In that speech, Mr Rubiales claimed that Ms Hermoso consented to the kiss that followed the World Cup win in Sydney and repeatedly shouted that he was not going to resign.

Mr de la Fuente said the football federation president’s defiant speech was a “situation that overwhelmed many of us for which I was not prepared for” – saying he expected Mr Rubiales to resign.

“I want to take this moment and my place as national men’s coach to explain the situation.

“I have received harsh criticism for it. Do you know what I think of the criticisms? They are entirely deserved, that I am sorry, that I understand them and ask forgiveness for them.

“Those that know me know that these gestures do not represent my values, nor my way of thinking, nor my way of behaving in life. I always have been and will be on the side of equality and respect.

“During my 26 years as coach, the last 11 at the Spanish football federation, I have always had flawless behaviour that many of you are witnesses of.

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“All of us remember what happened after the victory with our players in Sydney, and there is something that we all have very clear.

“Not Jenni [Hermoso] and not any of the other players are responsible for what happened there.

Read more:
‘Eye-opening response’ in Madrid to World Cup kiss
Who said what in World Cup kiss row
Who is Luis Rubiales – the football boss at the centre of a kissing row

Mr de la Fuente made the apology while announcing the men’s squad for Spain’s upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Cyprus.

Mr Rubiales was suspended by FIFA for 90 days over the kissing row.

The women’s team have refused to play until Mr Rubiales goes, while the team’s manager could also be forced to quit for applauding Mr Rubiales during his defiant speech last week.

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