Rubiales launches NFT to ‘support equality’

The former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) Luis Rubiales launched his own NFT on Wednesday, claiming it was intended “to support real equality.”

Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion in a Madrid court over his conduct following the Women’s World Cup final last August, including his non-consensual kiss of the Spain forward Jenni Hermoso.

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An investigating judge has heard evidence from Hermoso, her teammates, Rubiales and federation executives, and will now decide if the case will go to trial.

In a post on social media on Tuesday, Rubiales shared a statement from a South Korean company, The Moon Labs.

It said it had “created [a] digital campaign environment for people who support President Luis Rubiales” with “an NFT project to honour Luis Rubiales for his contributions to Spanish and global football.”

“This message is for those who support real equality and not radicalism or media manipulations,” Rubiales posted. “I am very grateful for the support of so many people and I especially want to thank The Moon Labs for their courage.”

The NFT was released on the online marketplace OpenSea on Wednesday.

It featured an image of Rubiales as a child, holding a football, which a description said “symbolizes his early years” and “highlights Rubiales’ cheerful personality.”

At the time of writing, 40 NFTs had been created, or ‘minted,’ although none had been sold.

Rubiales sparked international outrage when he kissed Hermoso during the medal ceremony following Spain’s 1-0 World Cup final win over England in Sydney, Australia on August 20, 2023.

Under growing pressure, he eventually resigned as RFEF president in September, and was subsequently banned by FIFA from all football-related activities for three years.

Hermoso filed a formal complaint with police, leading to the ongoing criminal investigation in Madrid.

Rubiales has denied the charges against him.

Hermoso told a Spanish television programme this week that the kiss and its aftermath were “one of the worst things that’s happened to me in my life, and very hard to deal with.”

She also accused the former Spain manager Jorge Vilda — now coach of Morocco — of controlling behaviour during his time in charge of the national team.

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