Luis Rubiales leaves the RFEF after five years marked by controversies


This Sunday, Luis Rubiales put an end to his time as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), a position in which he had held since May 2018 when he was elected by the majority and in which he has almost always had to deal with ‘battles’. ‘ and controversies at the head of an organization that was ‘touched’, where he worked hard to fight for non-professional football.

The former footballer and former president of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) has announced his resignation from his position, 16 days after his forceful “I am not going to resign, I am not going to resign” at the Extraordinary General Assembly of the RFEF, when it seemed that He would do it after his kiss with Jenni Hermoso. A day later, FIFA provisionally suspended him for this action for 90 days and this week, the AN Prosecutor’s Office announced that they were filing a complaint against him for sexual assault and coercion of the forward.

Luis Rubiales, majority winner of the elections against Juan Luis Larrea, had the responsibility of resuming the course of an RFEF ‘touched’ a year earlier by ‘Operation Soule’ that had ended the long period, since 1988, of his predecessor, Ángel María Villar, who in recent months had been one of his ‘right-hand men’.

The new president came to office months after leaving his position as head of the AFE and from the beginning he showed his character to improve football, looking a lot at the grassroots and non-professional football, in addition to futsal and women’s football, the great pillars in his speech to reach the top of the RFEF and have the broad support of the Territorial Federations.

And while he surrounded himself with a new team to clean up and recover the damaged image of the RFEF, from the beginning he had to ‘battle’ with controversies. Without having been in office for a month, he showed his character by suddenly dismissing Julen Lopetegui as national coach two days before the debut in the World Cup in Russia for having signed with Real Madrid.

The ‘Roja’ bench would become a headache from that moment since his bid to relieve the Gipuzkoan, Luis Enrique Martínez, had to leave office due to a family problem and then had to do without his replacement, Robert Moreno, when the Asturian found himself with the strength to return, at another moment somewhat tense. The player from Gijón was finally not renewed after the poor performance in the World Cup in Qatar, which ended in the round of 16 against Morocco on penalties.

What did not change with his arrival was the tension with LaLiga and its president, Javier Tebas, marked by bitter controversies, many of them ending in court. The schedules, with games on Fridays and Mondays, or their firm refusal to allow a First Division match in Miami (United States), are some of the examples of a relationship that always gave the sensation of having no symptoms of being good, despite some positive staging such as the ‘Pacts of Viana’.


But without a doubt, his worst moment before the one that occurred on Sunday with his kiss to Jenni Hermoso, was in April 2022 when ‘El Confidencial’ revealed through a series of audios that he had agreed with Gerard Piqué on a commission of 24 million euros. to bring the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

“There has been a clear, clean, transparent, honest and, above all, beneficial management for Spanish football. I have been in the RFEF for 4 years and I have suffered many attacks, I have not had a single week where there have not been continuous attacks, complaints or request for disqualifications against me and this institution, but certain limits are being crossed,” Rubiales replied in an extensive press conference. “Our Good Government body told us directly that if the relationship was direct between Saudi Arabia and Kosmos there was no conflict of powers, that’s it,” he stressed.

Barely a month after this controversy, a new one emerged with the alleged recordings of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and other political members, and the alleged hiring of a detective to spy on David Aganzo, president of the AFE and with whom neither He has had an extremely good relationship. The RFEF described it as “a smear campaign orchestrated by a very clear and defined group of people with the aim of destroying the reputation of Luis Rubiales, a victim of these maneuvers and of all those who are behind it collaborating with the same objective.”

And in September, the organization had to “flatly” deny that money from its funds was used to pay for a private party in a chalet in Salobreña (Granada) at the beginning of 2020, as denounced by its former chief of staff and uncle Juan Rubiales and according to what was published in the newspaper ‘El Mundo’.

“Throughout 2022, the RFEF has suffered a huge campaign that has been suffered mainly by its president and some directors, based on insults and slander and on developing complaints that often arose from fake news. This campaign has served to make the satellites always, with a common epicenter, make some of these complaints,” said Pedro González, director of the Legal Services of the RFEF, during the Extraordinary General Assembly of the organization last December.


The resignation of Luis Rubiales occurs almost a month after surely achieving the greatest success at an international level during his mandate, the conquest of the Women’s Soccer World Cup through a team with which he also experienced a tense controversy with the email sent by 15 footballers at the end of September requesting not to be called up due to the conditions that existed. Under his mandate, there was also conflict with the new League F in its professionalization process, with the strike on the first day of the referees in protest over their salary, or the lack of agreement for a Coordination Agreement.

In addition to this title, two months before, the men’s Absolute team won the Nations League, its first title since 2012, the U-23 team also won silver in Tokyo 2020, and the lower categories shone, with special mention to the world championships of the U-17 (2018 and 2022) and the U-20 women’s team.

Luis Rubiales also led Spain’s candidacy along with Portugal, Morocco and Ukraine to host the 2030 World Cup, and renewed the formats of both the Spanish Super Cup, with a new ‘Final Four’ that is now played in Saudi Arabia in exchange of a juicy contract whose money is mainly intended to help non-professional football, one of his great obsessions during his mandate, such as the Copa del Rey, establishing single-match qualifiers until the semifinals.

In the same way, it ostensibly improved the federation coffers, which by 2022 had a record budget of 406 million, and 382 for this 2023, and, despite all the accusations, it managed to get the RFEF the highest grade in the Transparency Index, when it was 23 at the time of accessing the presidential seat.