Luis de la Fuente, coach of the Spain men’s team, expressed regret on Friday for cheering football federation president Luis Rubiales’ remarks last week in which he declared he would not step down following his violent kiss on Jenni Hermoso, a star of the Women’s World Cup.
Luis de la Fuente, coach of the Spain men’s team, expressed regret on Friday for cheering football federation president Luis Rubiales’ remarks last week in which he declared he would not step down following his violent kiss on Jenni Hermoso, a star of the Women’s World Cup. De la Fuente said during a press conference, “I have to apologise, I made a mistake, it’s inexcusable. When he forcibly kissed Spain midfielder Hermoso on the cheek during the Women’s World Cup medal ceremony in Sydney on August 20, Rubiales, 46, incited fury all around the world.
The head of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) incited more outrage with a belligerent address at an emergency meeting in which he refused to resign in the face of rising criticism and instead railed against “false feminism,” to which De la Fuente cheered.
Hermoso said that Rubiales’ kiss was not consensual and that she felt like the “victim of an assault” despite Rubiales’ insistence that it was.
FIFA, the governing organisation of football FIFA temporarily suspended Rubiales for 90 days, and De la Fuente then released a statement denouncing the conduct of the president.
De la Fuente’s position, according to several detractors, notably Yolanda Diaz, the second deputy prime minister of Spain, was untenable.
De la Fuente added, “I received harsh criticism for (applauding), and I think that it’s entirely warranted. I understand it, and I sorry; it was unreasonable.
“I thought we were witnessing the farewell of a president when I arrived at the assembly, but it turned out to be the opposite.”
De la Fuente, 62, claimed that the circumstance caused “emotional stress” and shocked those in attendance.
“I arrived thinking it would be a resignation, and we went into shock when we saw it wasn’t like that,” he continued.
I couldn’t regulate my emotions and I wasn’t at the correct level. When I later looked and recognised myself on the cameras, I was surprised.
De la Fuente will “totally” be remaining, according to interim RFEF president Pedro Rocha, who added that he would be seeing women’s team coach Jorge Vilda the following week.
Despite the squad winning the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, reports in Spain claim Vilda may soon be fired.
Due to the Rubiales incident, more than 80 players from the women’s team are currently on strike, while Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias has declared he will not participate in the men’s team.
“I think he will want to come if he is called up, but I always stand for freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought,” said De la Fuente, who did not choose the striker in his squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers later in September.