The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has suggested it will take legal action over what it calls “lies” that its President kissed a female player without her consent.
Following Spain’s World Cup win, RFEF President Luis Rubiales faced pressure to resign after he kissed midfielder Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the tournament's medal ceremony in Sydney last week.
In a statement early this morning, however, Mr Rubiales has said he will not resign from his role and the kiss was “mutual” and “consensual”.
“I know it was wrong but is it enough for me to suffer the way I have been suffering, the way they’re chasing me?” he said in a statement at a Football Federation assembly.
“Is it right that I’m being told to leave when I’ve managed this [team] better than anyone else?”
RFEF said it supports Mr Rubiales and believes he has not lied.
“The RFEF and Mr President will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself,” it said in a statement.
"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."
The federation presented photos of Ms Hermoso and Mr Rubiales to suggest she did consent to the post-match kiss.
Ms Hermoso previously said the kiss was never consensual and she “did not like this incident”.
“I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part,” she said in a statement on Twitter.
Official Announcement. August 25th,2023. pic.twitter.com/lQb18IGsk2
— Jenn1 Hermos0 (@Jennihermoso) August 25, 2023
The Spanish Women’s football team has said it will not play any further matches for country until the "federation leadership is removed".
Some 81 players - including Hermoso - have signed a joint statement demanding that action is taken.
While Mr Rubiales refuses to resign, Spanish Women’s Football Committee President Rafael del Amo quit his role yesterday.
Additional reporting by IRN.