In a reversal, Spanish soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales on Friday refused to resign his post, saying he will fight to the end, despite the uproar that has ensued after he kissed a player on the lips without her consent following Spain's victory in the Women's World Cup championship.
Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso, a Women's World Cup champion, on the lips during the awards ceremony Sunday in Sydney, Australia, after Spain beat 1-0 England in the Women's World Cup final.
The incident sparked outrage within and outside Spain, with many, including government ministers, players and coaches, demanding his resignation. International soccer's governing body, FIFA, opened disciplinary proceedings against him.
Spain's players' union has also called for Rubiales to step down, saying the incident was especially grave since Hermos found herself "in a situation of vulnerability before a person in a position of power."
Spanish media reported Rubiales was going to resign and was expected to do so at an emergency assembly called by the soccer federation Friday.
But instead, after apologizing "unreservedly" for his actions, Rubiales was defiant, repeating over and over, "I will not resign. I will not resign. I will not resign."
The federation chief went to describe the kiss as "more of a peck" that "was spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual." He said he asked Hermosa before he did it and she said yes.
Rubiales also blamed the media, saying they were "paying homage to false feminism, which is a great scourge in this country."
Media reports quote Hermoso as saying of the kiss, "I didn't like it, but what are you going to do?" She later issued a statement through the players union, FUTPRO, saying the union would be pursuing the matter, and "are taking charge of defending my interests."
Rubiales on Friday did apologize for grabbing his crotch during the celebrations of the 1-0 victory while standing next to Spanish Queen Letizia.
Some information for this report were provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and the French news agency, AFP.