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Luis Rubiales: Spanish FA calls 'extraordinary and urgent' meeting over World Cup kiss row

The Spanish football federation has called an "extraordinary and urgent" meeting after president Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the Women’s World Cup final.

The 46-year-old has refused to step down from his role but has been suspended by FIFA following his actions in Sydney on Sunday.

He was widely expected to resign at a meeting on Friday but instead made a defiant speech, claiming he was the victim of a witch-hunt by "false feminists" and insisting the kiss with the 33-year-old attacking midfielder was consensual.

The Spanish federation's interim president Pedro Rocha has called the meeting on Monday "to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself" and look at "the decisions or actions to be taken," a spokesman said on Sunday.


An internal investigation is also under way after the federation's sexual violence protocol was activated.

Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona, the protocol's protection delegate who is conducting the investigation, said in a statement "we demand the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of every person involved".

Hermoso has said that "in no moment" did she consent to the kiss.

'With you Jennifer Hermoso'

On Saturday, she appeared among spectators at the Women's Cup final between Atletico Madrid and AC Milan - and was applauded by the crowd.

Read more:
Explained - who said what in the Spanish kissing row
Spanish FA boss accuses player he kissed of lying about it

FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings over World Cup kiss

Players at the match held a banner reading: "With you Jennifer Hermoso".

Spain's World Cup winning squad has refused to play any further games until the "federation leadership is removed", while eleven coaching and technical staff across Spanish football have resigned.

'A real nonsense'

Coach Jorge Vilda described the crisis as "a real nonsense" that has "tarnished a well-deserved victory" for the players and the country.

Mr Vilda has been an ally of Mr Rubiales since he was backed by the Spanish football federation after 15 players pulled out of the squad late last year in a row over their emotional and physical wellbeing, has not stepped down despite the departure of his colleagues.

But he told Spanish sports site La Marca that Spain's victory has been "harmed" by his "inappropriate behaviour".

"The events that have taken place since Spain won the Women's World Cup for the first time in its history and to this day have been a real nonsense and have generated an unprecedented situation, tarnishing a well-deserved victory for our players and our country," he said.

Both he and the men's national team manager Luis de La Fuente were seen applauding Mr Rubiales on Friday before condemning him in separate statements the following day.

Beatriz Álvarez, the president of Spain's women's league, which has filed one of several complaints against Mr Rubiales received by the government, said she believed it was the end of his football career.

"Luis Rubiales is finished. He has dug his own grave with his acts and his words," she said.

"Whether it is because of the action of FIFA or the Spanish government, I am sure that Luis Rubiales won't spend another minute as president of the Spanish federation."

Xavi: 'Totally unacceptable'

Men's teams, including Cadiz and Sevilla, made public showings of support for Hermoso before playing games at their home stadiums, while Real Madrid, Barcelona and other clubs issued statements criticizing Rubiales and backing the government's move to oust him.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández condemned Mr Rubiales' behaviour during a pre-match media conference, calling it "totally unacceptable."

Andres Iniesta, who won the World Cup and Euros with Spain's men's team, told of his "sadness" at the actions he said had "tarnished such a great milestone".

"Instead, we have had to put up with a president who has clung on to his position, who has not admitted that his behaviour has been unacceptable and who is damaging the image of our country and our football around the world," he told his 42.9 million Instagram followers.

Victor Francos Diaz, president of the Spanish government's High Council of Sport (CSD), said it "respects the decision" of FIFA to suspend Mr Rubiales for 90 days, pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

Mr Francos previously said that although Mr Rubiales can't be sacked by the government, the sports council will use a legal procedure in a sports tribunal.

Spanish football's 'Me Too' moment?

"We want this to be a 'Me Too' of Spanish soccer," he added.

Acting budget minister Maria Jesus Montero said on Sunday Mr Rubiales should not return to leading Spanish football.

"A person who lies, who has made a show of not having understood what the fight for equality means in an area as important as sport, cannot have the direction of football in this country in his hands," she said.

In the version of events Mr Rubiales gave in his speech on Friday, he said Hermoso had lifted him up in celebration and he asked her for "a little kiss?" and she said yes.

"The kiss was the same I could give one of my daughters," he claimed, accusing her of "lying" about her lack of consent.

Before the kiss, Mr Rubiales grabbed his crotch in a lewd victory gesture from the section of dignitaries at the stadium, with Spain's Queen Letizia and the 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofia standing nearby.

But the Spanish FA has so far stood by its president and threatened legal action to defend him.

Meanwhile people have been gathering outside the Spanish Soccer Federation in Madrid to protest, with some carrying banners and holding up red cards.

Gender issues have become a prominent topic in Spain in recent years with tens of thousands of women taking part in street marches protesting sexual abuse and violence.