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Luis de la Fuente Apologizes for Clapping in Support of Luis Rubiales

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Luis de la Fuente Apology

Luis de la Fuente, who took the helm of Spain’s men’s soccer team in December 2022, is now publicly seeking “forgiveness” for his applause following a controversial speech by Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales, the now-suspended president of Spain’s football federation, had infamously planted a non-consensual kiss on player Jenni Hermoso’s lips following the team’s Women’s World Cup triumph.

During a media briefing on Friday, de la Fuente termed his applause an “unforgivable lapse in judgment” but clarified he has no intention of resigning from his position.

Rubiales, who defiantly claimed he was the victim of a “social witch-hunt,” has been suspended by FIFA. In an unexpected twist, both de la Fuente and women’s head coach Jorge Vilda, who were seen clapping after Rubiales’ defiant speech, later issued statements condemning his actions.

At the news conference, de la Fuente explained, “Most of us at RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation) walked into that room expecting to hear about Rubiales stepping down. Instead, we got a curveball. It was a gut-punch, and frankly, overwhelming.”

De la Fuente expressed that while he felt let down by Rubiales, his primary mistake was in not expecting such a shocking turn of events. “I wasn’t expecting a quagmire, but that’s what we got. If I could rewind the clock, I wouldn’t clap. Not even a single handclap.”

He continued, “I stand for equality and respect, and this incident highlights that we’ve all got work to do in this area. I’m first in line.”

The Spanish judicial system has launched a preliminary probe to determine if Rubiales’ act could be deemed sexual assault. Concurrently, the Spanish Sports Tribunal (TAD) convened on Monday to deliberate on the Spanish government’s petition to suspend Rubiales, with a decision anticipated any moment now.

Before unveiling his roster for the forthcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers, de la Fuente dismissed concerns about losing his players’ confidence. “The guys have known me since their formative years; they’re aware of the principles I uphold. I’ve always navigated within the boundaries of utmost respect for everyone.”

When questioned about Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias, who declared he wouldn’t play for Spain “until things change,” de la Fuente said, “When Borja’s ready, our door is wide open. He knows where we stand.”

And so, the soccer world waits to see how these off-field dramas will play out, influencing not just the team’s morale but also the larger landscape of sportsmanship and equality in the game.

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