Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s football federation, dramatically refused to resign on Friday, using a fiery speech to lambast those who criticized him for kissing a Women’s World Cup winner on the lips.
“I will fight until the end. I hope the law is enforced. The press neither seeks justice nor seeks the truth,” Rubiales blasted on Friday afternoon. “I am not going to resign, I am not going to resign.”
The embattled football boss was expected to resign Friday, after a week of outcry that followed his nonconsensual kiss of Jenni Hermoso in Sydney on Sunday in full view of millions watching around the world.
Rubiales told an enthusiastic audience composed of some of Spain’s highest-ranking football officials that the kiss — which he characterized as “a mere peck … the kind I would give my daughters” — had been consensual, with Hermoso agreeing after he proposed it.
He went on to blame Hermoso for contributing to his “social assassination” by initially remaining silent and later issuing a press release calling for more measures to fight sexual harassment in Spanish football.
Rubiales had come under fire from senior Spanish politicians, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
But on Friday, Rubiales claimed he was a victim of “false feminism” and of politicians aiming to vilify him. He said equality was not about balancing men with women, but truth and lies. He specifically named Spain’s caretaker deputy prime minister, Yolanda Díaz, and Equality Minister Irene Montero as his persecutors and said that he would seek legal action against those who had criticized him.
This story is being updated.