President of Spanish government’s sports council says it will take action against Luis Rubiales if RFEF doesn’t

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The president of the Spanish government’s High Council of Sport (CSD) says he will take action against Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales if the soccer body fails to do do so.

On Tuesday, RFEF called an extraordinary general assembly – set for Friday – to deal with the fallout of Rubiales giving Spain star Jennifer Hermoso an unwanted kiss on the lips during the medal presentation ceremony after Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win over England.

Speaking to the “El Larguero” program on Spanish outlet Cadena SER later on Tuesday, CSD president Victor Francos said the council is willing to get involved after receiving three formal complaints about Rubiales’ actions.

“We have been very clear with RFEF on the need to open the procedures established by the Sports Law,” Francos said. “We could not pass by not opening those internal disciplinary proceedings.

“From there, we are going to wait for the case to be resolved urgently, which is very limited with two people involved and there is not much to investigate.”

The CSD is an autonomous decision-making body of the Spanish government’s Ministry of Culture and Sport and has the potential power to demand the removal of Rubiales, but do so the body needs to follow a series of required steps, including having an external complaint filed against him and the case having to be heard in front of a tribunal.

Miguel Ángel Galán, president of the National Training Center of Football Managers, has already presented a complaint about the unwanted kiss to both the CSD and the RFEF Ethics and Integrity Committee, which have been received and accepted.

In a statement announcing the extraordinary general assembly, RFEF said it has opened “the internal Federation processes in relation to integrity.”

Rising criticism

Francos’ comments come amid increasing pressure on Rubiales.

On Tuesday, a day after Rubiales apologized and admitted he “made a mistake” kissing Hermoso, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Rubiales’ apology was “not enough.”

“It is true that there has been some behavior, in this case of Mr. Rubiales, which shows that in our country there is still a long way to go in terms of equality and respect and in this equalization of rights between women and men,” Sánchez said.

“The apologies made by Mr. Rubiales are not enough. I even think that they are not appropriate and that, therefore, Mr. Rubiales needs to continue to take steps to clarify what we all saw.”

Politicians across the political spectrum in Spain also echoed the PM’s criticism.

“We maintain our asking of the resignation of the gentleman who belittled and assaulted a woman. His excuses serve absolutely nothing,” Yolanda Díaz, Spain’s acting second deputy prime minister and leader of the Sumar party, said in a press conference.

Cuca Gamarra, parliamentary spokesperson and secretary general of the Partido Popular, also said: “All institutional leaders should have exemplary behavior and that exemplary nature should be respect towards women and what we saw in that final in this sense was shameful. Only shame comes to my mind, at a minimum.”

In an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC on Tuesday, Spain center-back Irene Paredes said that the unwanted kiss was “an unfortunate gesture,” but that she and the team hoped that it wouldn’t “tarnish everything” the squad achieved at the Women’s World Cup.

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