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Spain's Coach De la Fuente Grapples with Scandal Amid Federation President's Resignation

Spain's Coach De la Fuente Grapples with Scandal Amid Federation President's Resignation

Spain's Coach De la Fuente Grapples with Scandal
Spain's Coach De la Fuente Grapples with Scandal(Image-Getty)

 Spain's men's coach, Luis de la Fuente, faced a barrage of questions on Monday regarding the recent resignation of Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). Despite the uncomfortable situation, de la Fuente remained focused on football, seeking to distance himself from the ongoing scandal involving Rubiales and Spain women's team player Jenni Hermoso. The controversy had arisen from allegations that Rubiales had given an unsolicited kiss to Hermoso during the celebration of the women's World Cup victory in Australia last month.

De la Fuente, addressing the press ahead of Spain's Euro 2024 qualifier against Cyprus, downplayed the notion that the Rubiales controversy was a distraction for his players. He emphasized that their primary focus was replicating their performance from the recent 7-1 victory over Georgia. Spain currently holds the second position in Group A, trailing Scotland by nine points but with two games in hand.

In an attempt to steer the conversation back to football, de la Fuente stated, "In here we think about football and we live in a bubble to be isolated. I think we have to focus on football and on what we football professionals can control. I have total and absolute respect for the decision taken by Mr. Rubiales. People make decisions when they think they have to make them."

The coach faced numerous questions about Rubiales and the ongoing scandal, eventually leading to a query about whether he felt compelled to send a message to the former president who had appointed him as manager in December. De la Fuente responded, "I have been working at the RFEF for 11 years. I have lived a long time before Luis Rubiales arrived. I am a football coach. Nobody has gifted me anything, I have earned it. I am grateful to all the people who have helped me throughout my life. And, no, I have not spoken to him."

Rubiales had announced his resignation, citing an untenable position. His actions had incited outrage both in Spain and internationally, raising concerns about sexism in sports. Among the controversies, Rubiales had also garnered attention for a questionable gesture during the World Cup final when he stood close to Spain's Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter and grabbed his crotch. A Spanish prosecutor had filed a complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion, adding to the ongoing scandal.

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