Spain football boss Luis Rubiales faces mounting pressure to resign – National |

Top Spanish Football Federation officials on Monday called on suspended President Luis Rubiales to resign after he kissed a player on the lips at the Women's World Cup final.

The heads of the regional bodies that make up the federation (RFEF) made this request in a joint statement.

“Following the recent developments and the unacceptable behavior that has caused great damage to the image of Spanish football, the Presidents demand that Luis Rubiales immediately resign as President of the RFEF,” the statement said.

Bosses also urged interim president Pedro Rocha to immediately withdraw the federation's request to UEFA on Monday to suspend him over government interference in calls to remove Rubiales from international competitions.

The move was widely seen as an attempt to silence some of Rubiales' critics, including government ministers, who had called for his ouster as such a ban would exclude Spanish sides from competitions such as the Champions League and could skew public opinion to fire him to keep his job.

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Football's governing bodies have long had rules prohibiting national governments from interfering in the governance of national football associations. However, UEFA will not comply with the Spanish FA's request for a sanction, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity as the decision-making process was confidential.

Rubiales was heavily criticized from around the world for his behavior at the Women's World Cup final. Among other things, he kissed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy ceremony on the pitch without her consent. He was suspended from his position on Saturday by football's governing body FIFA, which is investigating his behavior.

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Women's World Cup: Cheering Spanish fans celebrate first tournament win ever

His mother went on a hunger strike in defense of her son at a church in southern Spain on Monday, calling for an end to the “bloody and inhumane manhunt” against Rubiales.

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The Spanish FA's unprecedented ban request seemed to be a bargaining chip on its critics, trying to provoke fans and powerful clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as the men's national team, into backing his efforts to save Rubiales' job . Rubiales is also UEFA vice-president.

Spain's top clubs are expected to take part in UEFA's Champions League group stage draw on Thursday, and the men's national team will play matches in qualifiers for Euro 2024 on September 8 and 12.

FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday after taking control of the process for organizing the Women's World Cup. Rubiales' behavior during and after Spain's 1-0 win over England in the final on August 20 in Sydney, Australia has drawn close scrutiny on him and his five-year leadership of the federation.

However, FIFA has not invoked its version of the rules against government interference to protect Rubiales.

The Spanish FA then urged UEFA to act, allegedly in a letter sent on Friday, the same day its embattled president defiantly refused to step down at an emergency meeting.

The FIFA suspension prevents Rubiales from taking part in official business and interacting with other officials, including Spain's bid to host the 2030 World Cup alongside Portugal, Morocco and possibly Ukraine.

FIFA Disciplinary Judge Jorge Palacio also ordered Rubiales and the federation not to contact Hermoso. She said the association pressured her to publicly support Rubiales.

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The newly crowned world champions of Spain have declared they will not play any more games while Rubiales is in charge, even though they are embroiled in a national scandal they didn't want and which detracted from their triumph.

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