The coach of the Spanish men’s national football team, Luis de la Fuente, has apologised for applauding Luis Rubiales during the speech in which he refused to resign.
Mr Rubiales, 46, claimed in the speech last Friday that he was the victim of a “social assassination” after he was widely criticised for forcibly kissing player Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup presentation ceremony.
The men’s coach was sitting in the front row during Mr Rubiales’ speech and clapped when he attacked “false feminism”.
In that speech, Mr Rubiales claimed that Ms Hermoso consented to the kiss that followed the World Cup win in Sydney and repeatedly shouted that he was not going to resign.
Mr de la Fuente said the football federation president’s defiant speech was a “situation that overwhelmed many of us for which I was not prepared for” – saying he expected Mr Rubiales to resign.
“I want to take this moment and my place as national men’s coach to explain the situation.
“I have received harsh criticism for it. Do you know what I think of the criticisms? They are entirely deserved, that I am sorry, that I understand them and ask forgiveness for them.
“Those that know me know that these gestures do not represent my values, nor my way of thinking, nor my way of behaving in life. I always have been and will be on the side of equality and respect.
“During my 26 years as coach, the last 11 at the Spanish football federation, I have always had flawless behaviour that many of you are witnesses of.
“All of us remember what happened after the victory with our players in Sydney, and there is something that we all have very clear.
“Not Jenni [Hermoso] and not any of the other players are responsible for what happened there.
Mr de la Fuente made the apology while announcing the men’s squad for Spain’s upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Cyprus.