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Spanish soccer boss refuses to resign over WWC kiss


The president of the Spanish soccer federation has refused to resign despite heavy criticism for kissing a player on the lips without her consent after the Women's World Cup final.

Luis Rubiales told an emergency general assembly of the federation "I won't resign" four times in quick succession, claiming he was a victim of a witch hunt by "false feminists".

Rubiales kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the award ceremony after Spain beat England in the final in Sydney.

Several Spanish media outlets had reported on Thursday that Rubiales was planning to step down.

Instead, he told the overwhelmingly male assembly the kiss was "mutual and with the consent" of Hermoso.

Hermoso had said in a video streamed on social media last Sunday, "I didn't like it, but what can I do".

Rubiales, 46, has come under increasing pressure to leave his post since the incident.

FIFA, soccer's global governing body and organiser of the World Cup, opened a disciplinary case against him on Thursday.

Its disciplinary committee was tasked with weighing whether Rubiales violated its code relating to "the basic rules of decent conduct" and "behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute".

FIFA's move came after Spain's acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez said Rubiales' attempt to apologise, which came after he initially insulted his critics, was unconvincing.

Shortly before the forced kiss Rubiales had grabbed his crotch in a lewd victory gesture while standing close to Spain's Queen Letizia and the 16-year-old Princess Sofia.

The combination of the gesture and the unsolicited kiss has made Rubiales a national embarrassment after his conduct was broadcast to a global audience, marring the team's achievement in winning the trophy.

The first attempt to respond to the scandal was a statement Spain's national federation released in the name of Hermoso in which she was quoted downplaying the incident. 

On Wednesday, Hermoso issued a statement through her players' union saying it would speak on her behalf.

The union said it would do all it could to ensure the kiss does "not go unpunished".