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Luis Rubiales Denies Touching Defeated Lionesses Players

by Iliyasu Nuhu
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The former Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president responded to accusations by Football Association (FA) chair Debbie Hewitt that he “cupped and stroked” England star Laura Coombs’ face and “seemingly forcefully kissed” Lucy Bronze.

Hewitt then said that when the Spain players came up to accept their medals, Rubiales was “tactile” as he kissed their cheeks and “rubbed some on their back, tapped one on her bottom, grabbed some by their arm, lifted several off their feet, and one was hoisted twice”.

Hewitt’s comments were submitted to FIFA as they investigated Rubiales because he kissed Spain star Hermoso, sparking outrage across the football world.

The president refused to apologise or resign from his post at the RFEF, but was initially temporarily suspended by FIFA before the governing body handed down a three-year ban from football in October.

Rubiales was given the opportunity to respond to Hewitt’s comments as part of FIFA’s investigation and his representative labelled her account “astonishing” as he accused the FA chair of doing the same as he had been accused of.

The response, which was published by FIFA on Wednesday, states that Rubiales felt “the need to point out that Ms. Hewitt, hugged several players even after clearly noticing that they were extending their hands to receive a handshake, which applying the same logic she used, could be understood as a forceful nonconsensual physical contact, or even when greeting the referees, it can be seen Ms. Hewitt touching all of them in their arms, while [Rubiales] limited his interaction to a plain handshake. The hypocrisy is blatant.”

It adds: “The way she presents a gentle gesture of comfort to all the rivals in the final of the [Women’s World Cup], suggesting that [Rubiales] is some sort of creep is absolutely disgusting.

Also, she either purposely or negligently decides to obviate some of crucial facts, first Ms. Coombs was injured during the final, had to receive stitches and was wearing a bandage in her head, reason why [Rubiales] tried to comfort her.

“And second, Ms. Bronze not only plays in Spain, but she was also super cup champion in Spain just few months before in which celebration Mr. Rubiales obviously participated.

This conduct was not denounced when on June 18, 2023, he hugged Mr. Luka Modric after the final, precisely for the same reasons he hugged Ms. Bronze.”

The 46-year-old has vowed to appeal the suspension he was hit with, though FIFA said in its ruling that the disgraced official could have been given an even more severe sanction. He could also face criminal prosecution as the incident is being investigated by a Spanish judge.


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