WITH his very own mother locking herself in a church and declaring that she would go on indefinite hunger strike until the ‘inhuman witch hunt’ against him is ended, it’s easy to think that Luis Rubiales must be a victim.
And with the indomitable belief Rubiales and his Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have shown in taking on the might of the Spanish government and Fifa, it’s possible to see this as an underdog story.
Yet it is the same unquestioning belief that saw him kiss a female player on the lips after the World Cup victory, pick one up and throw her over his shoulder, and joke about marrying another in the locker room.
The kiss that he planted on the lips of Spanish striker Jenni Hermoso in the wake of Spain’s historic triumph has now shone a light on the conduct that got Rubiales onto that podium in the first place.
And it isn’t pretty viewing, according to a number of witnesses, victims and rivals that he has allegedly trampled on and abused on his way to the top of Spain’s football pyramid.
The accusations range from misogyny and sexual harassment to misappropriation of public funds, while anyone who dares to expose his alleged conduct is subject to aggressive legal threats.
“The list of women and men aggrieved by Luis Rubiales and his insults, bravado, blackmail, threats, espionage and persecution these years is too long and this must stop,” La Liga President Javier Tebas wrote on Twitter after the furor broke.
Spanish outlet Revelo reported that Real Madrid President Florenito Perez called him ‘the creepiest person I know’.
“The first time we met he tried inviting me to an orgy. Seeing him stick his tongue down those players was disgusting,” the Madrid magnate is reported to have said.
“He shouldn’t be in charge of anything, he should be arrested.”
Perez was not the first to make the orgy accusation against Rubiales.
His own uncle, Juan Rubiales, came out against him after reportedly being fired from his job at RFEF over accusations of leaking confidential information with the aim of damaging his nephew’s reputation.
Juan Rubiales confided that Luis Rubiales would use a large cabin in the province of Granada to host sordid parties for his closest allies and fellow board members.
Present at these gatherings would be around eight to ten young prostitutes, there under the pretence of a ‘work event’, with their pay and all other expenses stuck on the federation’s tab.
Prior to his position as top dog at the RFEF, Rubiales was president of Spain’s Football Players’ Association (AFE) between 2010 and 2017.
During this period, marketing manager Tamara Ramos claims he would ask her what colour underwear she was wearing, or tell her to ‘put her knee pads on’.
And when she informed him in confidence she was pregnant, the first thing he did, she claims, was to organise a meeting to announce it to the whole office – seemingly for no reason.
Presumably irked that Ramos would soon take maternity leave, after the meeting he made a vulgar comment that she should have ‘got f***ed from behind instead’.
When Ramos spoke about this experience last week, the RFEF immediately issued a letter denouncing the claims as false and announcing ‘legal proceedings’.
“It’s unbelievable how RFEF’s defence team can so confidently talk about things that happened within AFE, when AFE isn’t even a part of the federation,” Ramos responded.
Before moving on from the AFE to bigger things, Rubiales is alleged to have used association funds to pay for a renovation to his house.
Lead architect Yasmina Eid-Mached claims he had told her team to ‘send the renovation costs’ that would reach upwards of €120,000 to the AFE.
She also alleged that he subsequently pushed her aggressively and grabbed her arm, leaving her with injuries to her wrist and ribs and suffering from PTSD.
This apparent attitude towards women continued after he won election to become the president of the RFEF in 2017.
It was most publicly noticeable in his rock-solid support for divisive and unpopular women’s coach Jorge Vilda, who was appointed by Rubiales’ disgraced predecessor Angel Villar in 2015.
Vilda’s lacklustre results with the women’s team for three years was insufficient to threaten his position.
Come late 2021, the three captains of the women’s team, Alexia Putellas, Patri Guijarro and Irene Paredes, wrote an email to the RFEF complaining about Vilda and the federation itself.
Among various complaints about the technical performance of the coaching team was their anger that Vilda refused to let the players lock their hotel room doors while on national duty with Spain.
Despite the seriousness of the complaints, the squad did not get a proper response from Luis Rubiales and the Spanish football federation, who practically ignored them.
Instead, Rubiales and the RFEF made a public statement lambasting the criticism and threatening the players with a 5 year ban from the national team.
The RFEF then implied that the players were blackmailing them by ‘applying pressure to the federation’.
Rubiales rubbed salt in the wound by stating that the players should ‘recognise their mistakes and ask for forgiveness’ if they ever wanted to play again for the Spanish national team.
Many of the players had simply had enough, and on September 23, 2022, 15 players posted an open letter to the federation.
This resulted in many of the players being excluded even until this day. Now they are joined by the rest of the squad – and 56 in total – who have announced they will not play again for Spain while ‘the current management’ remains at the RFEF.
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