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Spanish FA calls urgent meeting amid pressure to sack Luis Rubiales over World Cup kiss row

Spain’s FA is holding an “extraordinary and urgent” on Monday (28 August) amid pressure to sack its president, Luis Rubiales, over his conduct at the Women’s World Cup.

International footballing body Fifa has already handed Mr Rubiales a 90-day suspension from all football-related activities over allegations that he gave Spanish player Jenni Hermoso an unwanted kiss after Spain’s victory over England in the World Cup final.

Mr Rubiales has repeatedly refused to resign over the controversial incident and says the kiss was consensual – though the footballer says it was not.

His refusal to step down comes despite 81 Spanish players saying they will not play for the national team until he does so, and the team’s coaching staff resigning en masse over his alleged behaviour.

Women’s team manager, Jorge Vilda, one of the few figures not to quit, said on Saturday: “The events that have taken place since Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time in its history and to this day have been a real nonsense and have generated an unprecedented situation, tarnishing a well-deserved victory for our players and our country.”

He said that Spain’s victory has been “harmed” by his “inappropriate behaviour”, adding: “There is no doubt that it is unacceptable and does not reflect at all the principles and values ​​that I defend in my life.”

A spokesman for the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RSFF) said the emergency meeting on Monday will allow it to “evaluate the situation in which finds itself” following its chief’s suspension by Fifa and look at “the decisions or actions to be taken”.

The federation, which had threatened legal action against Ms Hermoso, has also launched an internal investigation into the scandal, which has marred Spain’s first victory in the tournament.

Female referee María Dolores Martínez Madrona will head the internal investigation and promised “the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of every person involved”.

She added: “My duty is to adhere to the protocol and safeguard the privacy of those affected by this incident and of the sexual violence advisory committee.”

The Spanish government has also announced it has started legal proceedings seeking to suspend Mr Rubiales and that it may be given permission to do this by Spanish Administrative Sports Court (TAD) tomorrow.

Speaking to the El Pais newspaper, Spanish sports minister, Miquel Iceta, said: “We are going to ask the TAD to meet on Monday. If the TAD accepts the government’s complaint, we will immediately proceed with the suspension of the functions of president.”

Mr Rubiales was widely expected to quit at an extraordinary general assembly of the RSFF on Friday but instead insisted he would not be forced out of his role by what he felt was a “witch hunt”.

He repeatedly said “I will not resign”, and claimed he asked Ms Hermoso if he could give her a little peck after she lifted him off the ground during the post-match medal-giving ceremony and “she said OK”.

Afterwards, Ms Hermoso refuted his claims in a lengthy statement, saying she did not consent to the kiss and felt “vulnerable and the victim of an aggression”.

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