Luis Rubiales and a toxic tale of when double-doubling down goes wrong | Soccer

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CHECKING IN WITH PR ADVISER LIMMY

It’s been quite the weekend for Luis Rubiales. On Friday, the man’s man of Spanish football admin stood up on the stage at RFEF HQ and gave a masterclass in how to look like a colossal whopper. With the world expecting him to do one, the Spanish FA’s top, top pen-pusher doubled down on his belief that his kiss on the lips of Jenni Hermoso in front of a global audience in the World Cup trophy ceremony was entirely normal behaviour and repeated five times that he wasn’t going to resign. He claimed Hermoso called him “an ace” and initiated the embrace – “she was the one who lifted me up, who brought me close to her body” – and that the kiss was consensual, despite Hermoso saying the exact opposite. Later, on the radio, he double-doubled down on his egotistical claims, denouncing those who doubted him as “d1ckheads” and “dumb@sses”.

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It was a speech of such staggering stupidity that Rubiales was dealt with by the higher-ups at Fifa who, presumably, would rather have their own leader embarrass football, not this jerk. The game’s governing body provisionally banned Rubiales for 90 days to stop him doing any more damage beyond Spain while, we’re guessing, it worked out where its own moral compass should be. It was not long after Rubiales had been placed on Fifa’s naughty step that those in the RFEF room who had sycophantically clapped along heartily to their main man’s tig-waving antics on Friday started to sense that perhaps they had backed the wrong horse.

Among these was Spain’s manager at the World Cup, Jorge Vilda, who decided after a week of saying nothing that actually “[this] macho attitude, [should be] far from an advanced and developed society” and he “regrets deeply that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been harmed by the inappropriate behaviour that our top leader, Luis Rubiales, has carried out”. To be honest, no one gives a flying one what Vilda thinks, not least the members of the team he manages, who made a point of ghosting him at every opportunity in Australia after an ongoing row over last year’s protest against his methods.

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It was when the RFEF’s regional presidents finally got their act together and unanimously demanded that Rubiales “immediately resign” that it finally hit home that there really is nowhere left for Rubiales to go. In a further twist to a story that sounds like it went on a bank holiday bender, Rubiales’ mother locked herself in the little church in Motril on Monday and announced she was going on hunger strike until a solution could be found to what she described as the “unwarranted, inhumane and bloodthirsty hunt” of her son. Perhaps the driving force behind this decision was a divine power, or maybe some other influence closer to home. But when your mum’s fighting your battles for you, you know you’re in trouble. If any good comes from this toxic tale, it is that perhaps Rubiales will be the spark that changes Spanish football – and society – for the better. A clean-up is overdue.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Breaking the British transfer record twice in a year is fine, but a £10 subsidised coach is where [the club] draws the line” – the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust react to the decision by Todd Boehly and co to end the £10 cap on coach travel for fans at away games because it is not “financially sustainable”. Balancing the books starts here! That £900m post-takeover outlay isn’t going to pay for itself.

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Great to see The Wonder Stuff at Walsall in Friday’s Memory Lane (full email edition). What a fantastic day that was at the Bescot. And to connect this with the long-running earworm theme, as an Oxford United supporter all I ask of our new left-back is Don’t Let Me Dowwwwwn, Greg Leigh” – Richard Prangle.

How much is Udogie in the window? Not sure if that’s an earworm or just transfer speculation this week” – Steve Butler.

My weekend highlight? After his dopey backheel led to a Sheffield United goal, Manchester City’s Kyle Walker hoofed a digital advertising hoarding, seemingly causing it to malfunction. Yes please! More of this. If every Premier League footballer gave one a little kick after every unforced error, I reckon we won’t have any of the blinking things working after October” – Mike Wilner.

Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker, the Temuri Ketsbaia of the digital age? Photograph: Matt Impey/Shutterstock

Send your letters to [email protected]. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Richard Prangle.

This is an extract from our daily football email … Football Daily. To get the full version, just visit this page and follow the instructions.

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