All 13 of the scandals involving Luis Rubiales in his 5 years as President of the RFEF

The reign of Luis Rubiales as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has ended, five years and four months after it began. While Rubiales has managed some positive changes, it has not been without a series of scandals that repeatedly shocked Spanish football.

During Rubiales’ time, Diario AS reference the fact that the income at the RFEF has tripled, the communications department has been mordernised, funding has improved for women’s football and amateur football, and sponsorship has doubled.

However for many, those numbers have been dramatically eclipsed by his behaviour during a number of highly public, and at times scarcely believable events. These 12 events all occurred during his reign, and preceded the infamous non-consensual kiss during the World Cup celebrations.

Julen Lopetegui

Upon finding out that Lopetegui had agreed to take over at Real Madrid after the 2018 World Cup, Rubiales moved quickly to sack Lopetegui just two days before the World Cup began in Russia. Sporting Director Fernando Hierro would take over, and Spain crashed out of the World Cup to the hosts on penalties.

Taking the Spanish Supercup to Saudi Arabia

The Spanish Supercup might be bringing in plenty more money for the RFEF, but it is doing so to the tune of Saudi Arabian money, in the name of the government’s sportswashing exercise.

Rubiales was the one who took the Supercup to Saudi Arabia, changed the format to four teams, and moved it to the Middle East. He has argued that the RFEF are making a change for the better and improving things for women there, but there’s little sign of the women’s Supercup heading to Saudi with the same fanfare.

Cosying up to Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique’s Kosmos firm acted as an intermediary for the deal to take the Supercup to Saudi Arabia, for which they earned a commission of over €5m. The closeness of the pair did not sit well with many, referring to each other in regular messages as ‘Geri’ and ‘Rubi’. Rubiales also had contact with Sergio Ramos, with both players asking for preferential treatment regarding Spain selection (not reciprocated), and Pique complaining about refereeing decisions.

The cocaine press conference

After that had broken, Rubiales called a press conference to explain those messages which lasted hours and defied expectations in a number of ways. Amid denying any wrongdoing, he called himself ‘just a simple man from Motril’, told the story of how his sister broke his legs, which made him stronger, and noted that there was a ‘mafia’ out to get him. To top it off, Rubiales claimed they were capable of putting a suitcase of cocaine in his car boot to frame him.

The clubs he insulted

As president of the RFEF, many would have expected a roughly neutral perspective on most clubs. However as a football fan he defended his right to insult and admit privately that he didn’t like Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal.

Luis Enrique, Robert Moreno, Luis Enrique

While this is not entirely down to Rubiales, it did happen on his watch. After the tragic passing of his daughter, Luis Enrique Martinez took leave from his position, and Rubiales promoted his number two, Moreno. When Luis Enrique wanted to come back and Moreno wanted to continue, he sacked the former Monaco manager and brought ‘Lucho’ back, who publicly accused Moreno of trying to stab him in the back.

Espionage and his uncle

Recently Juan Rubiales, his uncle, came out into the press to call him “obsessed with power, luxury, money and even women”. Juan was sacked by his nephew in 2018 from his role at the RFEF, and revealed that Luis had hired someone to spy on his successor at the Spanish Player’s Association (AFE), David Aganzo.

Orgies on company money

Some of the hierarchy went away on a work weekend to a house on the Granada coast. Juan alleges that the company card at the RFEF was used to organise orgies during these weekends.

Trips and property

Although it might not be that uncommon for the heads of large companies to give themselves a number of perks, Rubiales has also been accused of paying for personal trips and property with RFEF money. He has maintained that they were necessary in order to carry out his duties as President.

Women’s Supercup medals

If indeed it was the medals ceremony that brought down Rubiales ultimately, he had another faux pas at the women’s Supercup. In January of this year, Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 3-0, and the players were invited up to a plastic foldable table to pick up their medals, without anyone of authority to present them with the awards. Meanwhile Rubiales was rather visible gladhanding with Barcelona’s men’s team after they beat Real Madrid.

The 15

Of course, the World Cup was won under Jorge Vilda, but his presence was one that caused controversy. 15 players went on Spain strike last year to try and force improved conditions (as 79 have done now), but instead Rubiales doubled down and backed Vilda publicly, with the Spanish media accusing those 15 players of being traitors.

A number of players missed out on the World Cup after holding their ground on the issue, while Rubiales insisted on Vilda to the end. He was ready to give him a new four-year deal worth €2m, but interim President Pedro Rocha sacked Vilda last week.

Javier Tebas battles

La Liga President Javier Tebas and Luis Rubiales have a feud that feels as old as time. The pair were in constant opposition during Rubiales’ time in charge, making matters difficult for the rest of Spanish football, and often ending in public mud-slinging through the media.



Tags Gerard Pique Luis Rubiales RFEF Saudi Arabia Spain La Roja
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