Luis Rubiales
Resigning?: Spanish football president Luis Rubiales is set to step down from his position after unprecedented criticism for his unsolicited kiss and behaviour at the Women's World Cup final AFP / DAVID GRAY

Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales is set to hand in his resignation following a week of turmoil since his controversial actions during the FIFA Women's World Cup final in Sydney last Sunday.

Rubiales faced condemnation from around the world after he grabbed his genitals in the stands when the final whistle was blown. Then, during the awarding ceremony, he hugged and kissed most of the Spanish players on the cheek. However, the incident that drew the most flak was when he grabbed Jenni Hermoso's face and kissed her squarely on the lips after she received her gold medal.

The 46-year-old RFEF chief has been put under a lot of pressure in the past days due to the criticism, and according to several news outlets, an extraordinary general assembly will be held on Friday. He is expected to hand in his resignation at the said assembly, which comes at the heels of reports stating that Hermoso intends to pursue legal action against him.

Rubiales initially brushed off the criticism in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but was forced to apologise on Monday amid mounting pressure. Meanwhile, Hermoso was caught on Instagram live joking about the incident and saying that she "didn't like it" while the players were all celebrating in the dressing room.

The federation later issued a statement on her behalf wherein she said that she had a good relationship with Rubiales and that it was a "spontaneous mutual gesture" that was borne out of "affection and gratitude."

Hermoso makes a U-turn on her stance

While the player initially appeared to have been comfortable with what looked like an unsolicited kiss, she made a drastic U-turn just days later. On Wednesday, she released a joint statement via players' union Futpro, wherein she calls for action against Rubiales.

"My union, FUTPRO, in coordination with my agency, TMJ, are taking care of defending my interests and being the interlocutors on this matter," said Hermoso.

"We are working to ensure that acts such as those we have seen never go unpunished, that they are sanctioned and that the exemplary measures are adopted to protect women footballers from actions that we believe are unacceptable," the statement said.

They called for further action against the football chief by saying: "We ask the RFEF to implement the necessary protocols and to ensure the rights of our players and adopt exemplary measures.

"It is essential that our national team is represented by figures that project its values of equality and respect in all areas.

Condemnation mounts from in and out of Spain

Football governing body FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday, stating that what took place "may constitute violations of article 13 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the FIFA disciplinary code." It remains unclear what kind of sanctions Rubiales is facing and if his resignation will make any difference.

Meanwhile, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez, Spain's women's league and prominent figures in men's football have also spoken up to slam Rubiales. Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said, "It's a very delicate topic, like most people it was behaviour that I obviously did not like. It was not the behaviour of a president of the federation."

Getafe president Angel Torres, Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo and Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay also called for unity in making a consistent stance against such behaviour.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International also joined the conversation by releasing a statement in support of Hermoso. "Amnesty International wants to show their support for the demands of the player, who has asked the (RFEF) to set underway 'exemplary measures' regarding the non-consensual kiss."

They called Rubiales' action a "form of sexual violence like any other."