Spain men's head coach asks for forgiveness amid Rubiales kiss row

'We all have to do more for equality. Me too. And I am working on that,' Luis de la Fuente said on Friday.

The head coach of the Spain men’s national team Luis de la Fuente has asked for forgiveness after giving Luis Rubiales a standing ovation when he said he would not resign over the ongoing kiss scandal.

Prompting fury across the country, Rubiales’ actions at the World Cup Final and the following fallout has led to protests in the streets, and opened up deeper wounds on women’s rights and sexism in Spain.

Now, de la Fuente has spoken out about applauding Rubiales, who publicly refused to step down as president of the Spanish Football Federation during an emergency general assembly.

“I’ve received harsh criticism for it, and it is completely deserved,” de la Fuente said on Friday.

Rubiales kisses Spain’s Aitana Bonmati on the cheek, and soon after Jenni Hermoso on the lips, following their win. / Credit: AP

“I’m sorry and I apologise for it.

“I don’t think I have to resign, I think I have to ask for forgiveness.”

The coach said he made “a human error” and called it “inexcusable”.

“If I could go back in time, I would not do that again,” he added.

“We all have to do more for equality. Me too. And I am working on that.”

De la Fuente said he was caught off guard by Rubiales’ speech and that his applause happened in a “situation of maximum stress and tension.”

He said he was convinced Rubiales was going to announce he was stepping down, as was widely reported in local media.

How did we get here?

After beating England 1-0 in the Women’s World Cup Final, Spain’s success has been tainted by the controversy surrounding Rubiales, who has refused to quit his role as the country’s FA president after kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the match.

He also faced heavy criticism after he grabbed his crotch in celebration of the win while stood metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter Sofia.

Prosecutors are now opening a sex abuse investigation into Rubiales and the Spanish football federation has called for his resignation.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin described his behaviour as “inappropriate” – but called for Fifa’s investigation to be allowed to run its course.

All of Spain’s 23 World Cup winners, plus another 58 players, have said they will not represent their country until Rubiales has left his post.

His mother is now in hospital following a three day hunger strike, according to Spanish news outlets.

Angeles Bejar said her protest was over the “inhuman” treatment of her son and she then locked herself in a church in Motril.

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