SPANISH Football Association president Luis Rubiales has issued an apology after kissing player Jenni Hermoso following his country’s Women’s World Cup final win.
It's not the first time Rubiales has come under fire: last year, he was accused of using federation funds to pay for "orgies" with young girls.
The chief initially defended his kiss with Hermoso and branded critics as "idiots".
He spoke on radio Marca and said: "When two people have a minor show of affection, we can't listen to idiocy.
"We are champions and that's what I'll take."
After leading Spanish politicians called for his apology and resignation, Rubiales released a video address today admitting his mistake.
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He said: “I’ve no doubt made a mistake and I have to admit it. At a moment of maximum excitement, without any bad intention or bad faith, what happened happened in a very spontaneous manner, I repeat without bad faith on either side."
Rubiales went on to say he didn't "understand what occurred" because he saw it as "normal and natural".
He continued: "Some people appear to have been upset and therefore I have to apologise."
Spain's Equality Minister Irene Montero referred to the act as "sexual violence".
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General Secretary of Sport for the regional Catalan government Anna Caula has also called for his resignation.
Caula said: “In football things are still not equal, we still have a lot of work to do.
“It is up to a president of the Spanish FA to be scrupulous in the way he behaves himself."
Hermoso admitted she hadn’t liked the kiss in a live online stream to fans from the dressing room.
In subsequent comments facilitated by Spain’s FA, the Madrid-born footballer who currently plays for Mexican side Pachuca, referred to the moment as a “mutually and totally spontaneous gesture”.
Footage of Rubiales grabbing his crotch and appearing to make an obscene gesture during his wild celebrations beside Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter has also come under fire.
The video was uploaded by Spanish politician Pablo Echenique, who has slammed Rubiales for his behaviour.
He said: "As well as giving Jenni Hermoso a non-consensual kiss on the lips while he grabbed her head, an act that could represent the commission of a crime, Rubiales also celebrated Spain's victory grabbing his testicles next to the queen and her daughter."
Last year, Rubiales' uncle was booted from his role as chief of staff at the FA Madrid headquarters after alleging his nephew organised a "private party" with "eight or 10 young girls" and made him pay for it with association funds.
It is understood that in his voluntary statement, he told of "a party in a private chalet" in the town of Salobrena in Granada province in early 2020.
His evidence to the corruption department was that the event was officially designated as a "work" event but that "it was not so".
Instead, he claimed, the rental of the house was "solely for the enjoyment of Luis Rubiales and his closest advisors", with the cost paid from FA funds.
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Juan Rubiales said: "A group of eight or 10 young girls was invited by the President’s friend and former player Nene."
The federation dismissed the 2022 claims of "irregular and inappropriate behaviour at a work meeting with other department directors at which he was present."
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