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Spanish FA president Rubiales resigns over W/Cup kiss scandal

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Luis Rubiales has resigned as the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) because of the ongoing investigations against him following his unsolicited kiss on Spain forward Jenni Hermoso.

Hermoso filed a criminal complaint last week, which led to prosecutors filing a case with Spain’s top court against Rubiales. He faces charges of sexual assault and coercion for his conduct after last month’s Women’s World Cup final, which Spain won 1-0 against England.

Later on Sunday, the RFEF confirmed Rubiales’ resignation in a statement and that he would be stepping down as a vice president with UEFA.

His behaviour, which also saw him grabbing his crotch and kissing other players, subsequently led to him being suspended from all football-related activity by FIFA, the sport’s top governing body, for 90 days as it carries out its own investigation.

“I have handed in my resignation to the acting president, Pedro Rocha,” Rubiales confirmed in an open letter published on Sunday.

“I have also informed him that I have done the same with my position at UEFA, so that a replacement for my role as vice president can be sought.

“After the suspension by FIFA, in addition to the rest of the proceedings against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position.”

Amid the fallout from the incident, Spain coach Jorge Vilda was fired on Tuesday.

Rubiales had previously refused to resign despite the pressure that mounted on him in recent weeks. After refusing to do so in a speech in August, in which he blamed “false feminism” and a campaign against him, the Spanish government sought to intervene and suspend him from his position.

However, it has been unable to do so because of a ruling from Spain’s top sports court (TAD). As TAD classified Rubiales’ infraction as “serious” and not “very serious,” the government has been unable to step in, but Hermoso’s decision to press changes changed the face of the investigation.

Rubiales said his decision to resign now is meant to avoid further fallout for Spanish football and the RFEF’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup in collaboration with Portugal, Morocco and Ukraine.

“To insist on waiting [for an outcome] and clinging on to [my position] will not contribute to anything positive — neither for the RFEF nor Spanish football,” Rubiales added.

“There are powers that be that will prevent my return. I do not want Spanish football to be harmed by this disproportionate campaign [against me].

“I am taking this decision after having made sure that my departure will contribute to the stability that will allow both Europe and Africa to remain united in the dream of [co-hosting the World Cup in] 2030.”

Rubiales previously said the kiss was consensual — a claim Hermoso has strongly denied, saying she felt she was the victim of an aggressive act — and he will now focus on defending his name.

“I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power to make sure it prevails,” he said.

“My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of unconscionable persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that on the street, every day more and more, the truth is prevailing.”

FIFA’s investigation could lead to a ban from football for as long as 15 years, according to reports, while the criminal case could see Rubiales handed a prison sentence of up to five years. Legal sources told ESPN, however, that if found guilty he would likely be handed a one-to-two-year suspended sentence.

Meanwhile, after Rubiales’ conduct was classified as “serious,” TAD’s investigation could lead to a maximum professional disqualification of about two years.

No. 2-ranked Spain is scheduled to start the Women’s Nations League on Sept. 22 in a visit to top-ranked Sweden. Spain beat Sweden in the World Cup semifinals.

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Man City suffer Haaland injury scare ahead of FA Cup semi-final

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Pep Guardiola has revealed Erling Haaland could miss Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola has revealed Erling Haaland could miss Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

Haaland was substituted before the start of extra time in City’s Champions League quarter-final second leg defeat against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Guardiola said after the penalty shoot-out loss that the Norway striker asked to be withdrawn but did not give a reason why.

The City boss has now confirmed Haaland suffered an injury against Real and suggested it was not certain his leading scorer would recover in time for the FA Cup holders’ clash with Chelsea.

“We will see. It was a tough game, a lot of action, high intensity for both sides,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

“Erling felt something, a muscular issue. That’s why he told me he could not continue.

“The doctor said he had a little bit of niggles, a little problem, we will see how his evolution is in the next hours.”

While Guardiola sweats on Haaland’s fitness, City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne should be involved against Chelsea after being taken off during extra time against Real due to fatigue.

Given City’s hectic schedule, Guardiola conceded it is understandable that players are tired at this stage of the season.

“It’s normal with the amount of games we are playing this season and the previous seasons and not much recovery, and extra time and high intensity,” he said.

“We put a lot of pressure in our game and that’s why the fatigue is there. They are human beings. They are not a machine. We are used to it.”

The agonising shoot-out defeat by Real ended City’s hopes of winning a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble for a second consecutive season.

But they remain on course to repeat the domestic double and Guardiola is determined to ensure the Premier League leaders bounce back from their European frustration.

“We don’t have another option. I don’t want us to feel sorry for ourselves,” he said.

“In football, you lose games. We performed at our best and we were not able to win. You have to accept it.

“We did everything. We know it, they know it, all the world know it, but it was not enough. When it’s not enough, it’s a bad night. So congratulations (to Real) and, tomorrow, FA Cup.”

 

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Sports federations condemn Olympic prize money for athletics

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An organisation of Olympic sports federations on Friday said the decision by World Athletics to award prize money to gold medallists

An organisation of Olympic sports federations on Friday said the decision by World Athletics to award prize money to gold medallists in its events “undermines the values of Olympism”.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) released a statement which made clear how unhappy it was at the announcement by World Athletics president Sebastian Coe that track and field gold medallists at the Paris Games will receive $50,000 (47,000 euros).

World Athletics’ move, announced last week, was a first for a federation at an Olympics. It said it would extend prize money to all medallists in Los Angeles in four years’ time.

ASOIF, which has 30 full members and two associate members, said: “This move undermines the values of Olympism and the uniqueness of the Games. One cannot and should not put a price on an Olympic gold medal.

“This disregards the less privileged athletes lower down the final standings.”

It said other Olympic sports cannot afford to offer prize money.

“Not all sports could or should replicate this move, even if they wanted to,” said ASOIF.

The organisation added that it accepted schemes by National Olympic Committees and governments to “reward athletes for outstanding performances…for purposes of national pride and …consistently across all the sports at the Olympic Games.”

It also said that there had been a consensus that, where sports had a surplus, Olympic revenue should “be invested as a priority into development and integrity.”

The organisation was also unhappy that Coe had announced the move without warning to its fellow federations, although it had informed the International Olympic Committee on the day of the announcement.

“ASOIF was neither informed nor consulted in advance of the announcement, which was made one day after the ASOIF General Assembly,” it said, adding “it is important and fair to discuss the matter at stake with the other federations in advance”.

World Athletics responded in a statement to AFP that its decision to award prize money was “about underscoring our unwavering commitment to empowering the athletes and recognising the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games”.

It said it agreed it was impossible to put a “marketable value” on winning an Olympic medal.

“But we think it is important to make sure some of the revenues generated by our athletes at the Olympic Games are directly returned to those who make the Games the global spectacle that it is,” World Athletics added.

The total World Athletics prize fund of $2.4 million will come from the International Olympic Committee’s revenue share allocation that the federation receives every four years.

 

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Nagelsmann to remain Germany national football coach till 2026

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Julian Nagelsmann has signed a contract extension with the German men’s national team, the domestic football association

Julian Nagelsmann has signed a contract extension with the German men’s national team, the domestic football association said Friday, putting to bed speculation of a quick return to club football.

The new deal keeps Nagelsmann with Germany for an additional two years and will see him coach the team at the 2026 World Cup in North America.

“This is a decision from the heart. It is a great honour to coach the national team,” Nagelsmann said in a statement.

The announcement comes just a few weeks before Germany is set to host the 2024 European championships over June and July.

Nagelsmann said he was “moved by the enthusiasm of the fans” after victories in recent friendlies against France and the Netherlands.

“Together, we now want to have a successful home Euros,” said Nagelsmann, whose deal with the national team was set to run out after the summer tournament.

The German Football Association (DFB) was already “absolutely convinced” of the need to retain Nagelsmann’s services, national team director Rudi Voeller said in the statement.

Nagelsmann was a “brilliant tactician, who not only has great knowledge of the game, but has the passion to motivate and inspire each and every one of his players”, said the legendary German striker turned executive.
– Bayern links –

Nagelsmann’s decision to stick with Germany sent a “strong signal”, DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said in the statement.

The extension meant Germany “can plan with a degree of stability” beyond Euro 2024, Neuendorf said.

It also silenced rumours that Nagelsmann could make a quick return to club football after the tournament and little more than a year after leaving Bayern Munich.

The 36-year-old coach was “on the wish list” for a lot of top clubs in Europe, Neuendorf said.

Nagelsmann was strongly linked with a return to Bayern, who sacked the native Bavarian in March last year after a run of poor results.

Bayern jumped at the chance to replace Nagelsmann with former Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel but things have only gone from bad to worse for the German giants.

This season under Tuchel, Bayern surrendered their Bundesliga crown to Bayer Leverkusen, ending a streak of 11 straight titles.

The failure in the league means Tuchel will leave Bayern at the end of the season.

A successor has yet to be named but two widely touted candidates, Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso and Nagelsmann, are now out of the running.

Germany will be looking to perform on home turf after being dumped out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at the group stage.

A miserable run of results following the tournament was enough for DFB management to decide they could not continue with coach Hansi Flick.

Germany’s fortunes have since picked up with Nagelsmann at the helm, boosted by the return to the fold of experienced midfielder Toni Kroos.

Euro 2024 kicks off in Munich on June 14, when Germany face Scotland at Bayern’s Allianz Arena.

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