Underfire Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales once played in Scotland and he was a total flop

Underfire Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales once played in Scotland and he was a total flop
Luis Rubiales’ Mother Goes On Hunger Strike Over Kiss Scandal

The embattled Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales was once an unlikely name on the books of Scottish club Hamilton Academical – but he quit after just four games.

Rubiales retired as a professional footballer nine years before he became head of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), but his short stint in Scotland was a lowlight of his playing career.

The Spaniard flopped in Hamilton and made just four appearances, all of which ended in defeat. Eventually, the club terminated his contract by mutual consent. Rubiales cited family reasons for his departure.

On his final appearance in Scotland, a 4-1 defeat to Rangers, Rubiales was greeted with the chant: “Baldy bastard, what’s the score?”

The 46-year-old has faced repeated calls to step down from his position as the head of Spain’s football association in recent weeks, after he grabbed Spanish striker Jenni Hermoso and kissed her mouth during the Women’s World Cup medal ceremony.

Hermoso has since said the action was not consensual. She said the situation had left her feeling “vulnerable and a victim of aggression”. In her statement she described the kiss as “an impulsive act, sexist, out of place and without any type of consent from my part. In short, I wasn’t respected.”

FIFA, the sport’s governing body, has suspended Rubiales for 90 days starting on 26 August. The Spanish FA has stuck firmly by its boss throughout and has even threatened to sue Hermoso.

Separately on 28 August, a Spanish court opened a preliminary investigation to see if what took place was a sexual assault.

Spain’s labour minister and second deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz has also weighed in, according to Reuters. She said male chauvinism is “systemic” in the country.

As a player, Rubiales was seen as having below-average technical skill compared to other Spanish players, but he was respected for his tenacity.

He was also on the books of Valencia and Atletico Madrid during his youth, and started his senior career in the Spanish second division at Guadix. Later, he played for Mallorca's B side and moved on to Lleida, Xerez, Levante and Alicante, before ending up in Scotland.

Meanwhile, in his more successful career as a bureaucrat, he has already courted controversy before. Rubiales was less than a month into his current job when he sacked men’s manager Julen Lopetegui – who until recently managed Premier League side Wolves – two days before the 2018 World Cup.

The decision eventually saw the Spanish team make an ignominious last-16 exit.

Rubiales was also at the centre of a controversy when he backed Women’s manager Jorge Vilda despite players complaining that they were not being allowed to lock doors of their hotel rooms on international duty until 2019.

It has been pointed out that he and Vilda have a strong relationship. Vilda’s father, Jorge, is currently head of the RFEF’s women’s football department.

Other headlines from Spanish newspapers in recent years have read: “The ex-boss of Rubiales’ cabinet says he paid for orgies with federation money,” in relation to private parties reportedly organised. Rubiales denies it.

Another read: “Luis Rubiales acquitted of the accusation of assault of the architect who renovated his house,” in a case that also saw him accused of using money from the player’s union – of which he was president – to pay for the work.

And then: “Rubiales deal with [Gerard] Pique for a €24m pitch to bring the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia – ‘you are left with six kilos’,” after a series of leaks showed some controversial deals with the former Spanish defender.

However, he was already seen as a significant improvement on his predecessor, Angel Maria Villar. He was suspended as president after being detained in July 2017 on allegations of collusion, embezzlement and falsifying documents.

As for Rubiales, calls for him to step down continue to intensify.

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