|Intro||Spanish football player and executive|
|Is||Athlete Football player Association football player|
|Birth||23 August 1977, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain|
Luis Manuel Rubiales Béjar (born 23 August 1977) is a Spanish football official and former professional player who played as a defender. He is the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the UEFA vice president. Known for not being a very skilled player but a tenacious one, he appeared in 53 La Liga matches over three seasons.
Rubiales was born in Las Palmas, Canary Islands and raised in Motril in the Province of Granada. During his Spanish career, spent mainly in the Segunda División, he represented Guadix CF, RCD Mallorca B, UE Lleida, Xerez CD, Levante UD (gaining promotion to La Liga in 2004 and 2006) and Alicante CF. He made his debut in the Spanish top flight on 29 August 2004, coming on as a late substitute in a 1–1 away draw against Real Sociedad.
On 4 August 2009, it was announced Rubiales had agreed a one-year deal at Scottish Premier League side Hamilton Academical. However, after only three league appearances – four official – he left the club and returned to his country.
In March 2010, already retired, Rubiales was elected president of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE). He quit his post in November 2017 with the intention of running for office at the Royal Spanish Football Federation, being elected its president in May 2018; in one of his first actions, he sacked Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui immediately before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, having not been informed by the latter that he was negotiating to become the new manager of Real Madrid.
On 8 September 2018, Rubiales gave an interview in which he criticised the Spanish League president Javier Tebas for signing a contract that would see matches being played in the United States. The former explained that the deal was "worthless" without the Spanish Federation's approval.
On 25 March 2023, the RFEF recognised 1937 Copa de la España Libre winners Levante FC, now replaced by Levante UD, as the equivalent of winning the Copa del Rey. Rubiales then handed the trophy to the 2023 captain of Levante, Vicente Iborra, before their match against Real Zaragoza on 31 March.
On 18 April 2022, the Spanish digital newspaper El Confidencial published some leaked documents and audio files that they called Supercopa Files, which included conversations that happened in 2019 between Rubiales and the footballer and businessman Gerard Piqué. In these audio files, Rubiales negotiated paying Piqué some commissions related to playing the Supercopa de España in Saudi Arabia. One of the conditions for these commissions was that two of the four participant teams would need to be Barcelona (Piqué's then-club) and Real Madrid. Rubiales himself would also benefit from these commissions given the variable part of his salary in the federation. The leak of these audio files generated a notorious controversy and forced both Piqué and Luis Rubiales to give explanations.
In October 2022, El Confidencial published a WhatsApp conversation in which Rubiales spoke in a derogatory way of several Spanish football teams. He said he disliked Villarreal, Sevilla, and Valencia and that he felt sorry for Atlético Madrid because they are "jinxed".
In 2022, Rubiales filed a lawsuit against Wikipedia demanding any content on the Spanish Wikipedia that might be seen as damaging to his honour be removed.
Sexual harassment and backlashes
After Spain won the Women's World Cup in August 2023, Rubiales was captured kissing Spain's midfielder Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the medal presentation; Hermoso later on indicated during her Instagram live stream that she did not like the kiss. In the locker room, he reportedly threw his arm around her and said "There, we will celebrate the wedding of Jenni and Luis Rubiales" in Ibiza. He was earlier spotted grabbing his crotch while standing in the authorities' box near Queen Letizia and next to her 16-year-old daughter Infanta Sofía.
Rubiales subsequently faced widespread criticism for his vulgar demeanor during the celebrations, from American two-time soccer world champion Megan Rapinoe to Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, all called for him to resign. The AFE issued an official communiqué stating that if he did not resign immediately, they would demand that the Sports Law be applied on him. According to Grupo Vocento's Relevo, he reportedly begged Hermoso to appear next to him in an apology video, while Jorge Vilda made several unsuccessful requests to Hermoso's family for her to come out in support of Rubiales. Furthermore, RFEF sent to EFE a false statement by Hermoso condoning Rubiales' behaviour. Acting through her players' union Futpro, Hermoso asked RFEF, without directly mentioning Rubiales, for ensuring the rights of [Futpro] players and taking exemplary measures". Liga F filed a complaint before the High Sports Council (CSD) asking for his inhabilitation. The worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers, the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPRO), called for immediate action and investigation of his actions under FIFA code of ethics. Under immense pressure, the RFEF announced that it would hold an emergency Extraordinary General Assembly on 25 August. Meanwhile, on 24 August, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee opened a disciplinary proceedings against him.
Although Rubiales leaked to his close circle and the press that he would be resigning during the emergency Extraordinary General Assembly of the RFEF on 25 August, he instead recanted his words and vehemently refused to stand down. On the same day, two Spanish men's national team and Real Betis players, Héctor Bellerín and Borja Iglesias, publicly denounced Rubiales on social media, with the latter refused to play for Spain until Rubiales resigned. Two former Spain national goalkeepers, 2010 world champion Iker Casillas and David de Gea, also criticised Rubiales' speech on Twitter.
- Segunda División: 2003–04