The captains of the Spain men’s national team have criticised the “unacceptable” behaviour of Spanish football association (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales at the Women’s World Cup final.

Alvaro Morata, Cesar Azpilicueta, Rodrigo Hernandez and Marco Asensio began Monday’s press conference by reading out a statement on behalf of the Spain squad. They described his actions as “not living up to the institution he represents” but did not call for him to resign.

Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony at Stadium Australia after Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time. Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual.

Rubiales, who said he would not resign over the incident, was suspended by FIFA and regional leaders from the RFEF have requested he stands down. In a statement released on Friday, Rubiales said the kiss with Hermoso was consensual and he “would continue to defend his position to tell the truth”.

The statement from the national team read: “The National Team players want to highlight several issues regarding the latest events that have damaged the image of Spanish football:

“First of all, we want to convey, once again, our pride and our most sincere congratulations to the women’s team for the title of World Champions in Sydney. A historical milestone full of meaning that will mark a before and after in Spanish women’s football, inspiring many women with a triumph of incalculable value. For this reason, we want to regret and express our solidarity with the players who have seen their success tarnished.



What’s next for Rubiales, his allies, and those who applauded him last week?

“We want to reject what we consider unacceptable behaviour on the part of Mr. Rubiales, who has not lived up to the institution he represents.

“We place ourselves firmly and clearly on the side of the values ​​that sport represents. Spanish football must be an engine of respect, inspiration, inclusion and diversity and must set an example with its conduct both on and off the field.

“From today, we face a decisive concentration for the future of Spanish football on our way to qualify for Euro 2024 with two games against Georgia and Cyprus. We would like from now on to be able to focus on sporting issues given the relevance of the challenges that lie ahead.”

Former Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets also spoke about the incident on Sunday following Inter Miami’s victory over Los Angeles FC and expressed his support for Hermoso.

“It’s clear that I’m on the side of many,” Busquets said. “To not tolerate or condone the behaviour of the president. And of course I give my full support to Jenni (Hermoso) and to all of the players.”

Several male Spanish players spoke out after the RFEF meeting in August in which Rubiales refused to resign. Ex-Manchester United goalkeeper and Spain international David de Gea posted: “My ears are bleeding”, while retired No 1 Iker Casillas also wrote: “Total embarrassment.”

Borja Iglesias, the Real Betis striker, effectively ruled himself out of selection for the men’s national team following the events at the RFEF assembly.



Linehan: It’s time for Rubiales, fathers of daughters to take responsibility for their own actions

(Photo: Maja Hitij –FIFA via Getty Images)

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