THE CHAIRMAN of Spain’s Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, has been forced to apologise after he forcibly kissed one of the country’s female players on the lips after the team’s victory at Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final.
Despite originally shrugging off the criticism he faced after the moment with player Jenni Hermoso was caught on camera, saying that people ‘should not take any notice of idiots’, the mounting criticism for his actions forced him into an about-face.
“I have to apologise, there’s no other option, is there?” he said in a statement made via a video released on Monday.
Among his critics was the caretaker culture and sports minister, Miquel Iceta. “The first thing he should do is to give an explanation and present excuses,” the Socialist politician said from Sydney, Australia, where the final match was held.
Rubiales was also criticised on social media after he was caught on camera grabbing his crotch in a gesture of defiance after Spain won the game against England 1-0. He did so while standing next to Queen Letizia and her youngest daughter, the infanta Sofia.
He also made a series of statements after the victory to reporters, in which he used the masculine pronoun nosotros, to refer to the women’s team and its win, rather than the feminine form, nosotras. He also did the same with the word ‘champions’, using campeones rather than campeonas.
During a live Instagram broadcast in the dressing room after the game, and the kiss, Jenni Hermoso was heard to talk about the kiss, saying: “What was I supposed to do?!” and “I didn’t like it…”
She later issued a statement saying that it was a ‘spontaneous mutual gesture’ between two people who have ‘a great relationship’.