Scandal in the Spanish Football Federation: why is it so difficult to throw Luis Rubiales?
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Scandal in the Spanish Football Federation: why is it so difficult to throw Luis Rubiales?

Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales is still clinging to his post despite outrage over his disapproved kiss with Jenni Hermoso. Why is foreclosure so difficult?

Since Luis Rubiales kissed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso without her consent after winning the Women’s World Cup final in Australia, everything has been raging around him.

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Yet the most powerful figure in Spanish football continues to cling to his position, undermining the success of the women’s team and threatening to perpetuate sexist acts in women’s football.

After an extraordinary general meeting of the Spanish Football Federation, where many expected Rubiales to resign, the president claimed to be the victim of a witch hunt. “I don’t want to stop“, he repeated up to five times to applause from the audience, eliciting a “social assassination“.

While his mother went on a hunger strike to Jenni Hermoso”Tell the truth“, the world of women’s football accuses the Spanish federation of misogyny.

Why is it so hard to throw Luis Rubiales?

He won’t quit, it would be a big surprise if he did. He will defend his position to the death“, Rafa Fernández, sports journalist for the Spanish channel Onda Cero, explains to Euronews. From then on, all eyes are on the federation, whose statutes allow it to make independent decisions.

Problem: its internal structure makes democratic decision-making difficult. Led by an assembly of 140 members – the majority consisting of the 19 regional presidents – including only six women.

During the extraordinary meeting of the union on August 25, most of the regional presidents applauded enthusiastically when Rubiales announced that he would not resign.

A reversal a few days later, when this college published a statement unanimously calling for his resignation… without, however, activating a vote of no confidence.

They try to avoid it at all costs, it is a feudal dictatorship where a lot of money circulates. They function as a closed family where they want to maintain the internal structure“, explains Rafa Fernández.”The main players in the system want to prevent it from developing, especially since it brings them“.

Among them Rubiales, who earns 371,000 euros net per year as president of the association, which comes 250,000 euros paid by UEFA. The organization of European football also pays him a housing allowance of 3,000 euros per month.

Who has the power to fire Rubiales?

FIFA took the decision, the day after the extraordinary meeting of the Spanish federation, to suspend the Spanish leader for three months. “This decision put him out of action“, explains Rafa Fernández.

Therefore, only a vote of no confidence from the Spanish federation can topple the president. According to the Onda Cero journalist, such a decision would require the support of one-third of the assembly to be put forward, and two-thirds, or 94 votes, to be adopted.

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The problem is that you need a consensus and right now there are many internal disagreements. For that, they need time and a candidate who can build consensus“, explains Rafa Fernández.

Pedro Rocha, interim president since Rubiales’ suspension, could be an alternative, although he is part of the hard core of Rubiales supporters who still control the federation.

The 19 territorial presidents are responsible for planning the new road map. How is it that in the most serious crisis the union has been through, only they decide? Because they are the ones who need this system to survive“, he adds.

However, the hoof could fall from the outside. Spain’s Higher Sports Council forwarded the complaint against Rubiales to the Administrative Sports Court, which has sanctioning powers. Until the matter is resolved, the Higher Sports Council can suspend Rubiales from office. Last possible option: the criminal route, which depends on the possible future steps of Jenni Hermoso.

What about possible allegations of sexual assault?

Spanish justice has opened an investigation into Rubiales to determine whether there is enough evidence to charge him with sexual abuse. Since the facts took place outside Spanish territory, Jenni Hermoso must submit an official complaint within 15 days for the case to proceed. The offense carries a prison term of one to four years.

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French football also in the grip of sexism issues

Come and have dinner at my house tonight“, “I prefer blondes, so if you’re up for it…“, “You’re chubby, I’ll let you in my bed“, “You’re chubby, I’ll let you in my bed“, text messages allegedly sent to partners by Noël Le Graët, former president of the French Football Federation.

It all started then SoFoot Magazine published in September 2022 excerpts of sexual messages allegedly sent by Noël Le Graët to employees.

The former French football strongman has found himself on the ropes after a devastating audit revealed his centralized exercise of power and inappropriate behavior towards women.

The French Ministry of Sports commissioned an investigation by the General Inspectorate, which lasted five months. The prosecutor’s office in Paris also took up the case and opened a preliminary investigation for moral and sexual harassment.

Several cases of sexual abuse, blackmail and harassment, including of underage players, involving coaches, recruiters, agents and senior officials working in France’s football elite have since come to light.

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The former president of the French Federation has finally resigned in February last year…before jumping back to Fifa.

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