24 Aug, 2023 @ 10:45
1 min read

Female football player forcibly kissed by Federation chairman at World Cup final breaks silence over controversy

Luis Rubiales kisses Jenni Hermoso

THE SPANISH football player who was forcibly kissed by the chairman of Spain’s Football Federation after the team’s World Cup victory on Sunday has spoken out about the controversy. 

Jennifer Hermoso has called for ‘exemplary measures’ to be taken against Luis Rubiales, after he embraced her without permission during the medal ceremony in the wake of Spain’s 1-0 win against England. 

The actions of Rubiales have overshadowed the historic win for the Spain women’s team, and were not limited to the kiss. He was also caught on camera grabbing his crotch in an obscene gesture when the match ended, despite standing just feet from Queen Letizia and her daughter, the infanta Sofia. 

Rubiales offered an apology earlier this week, but pressure has been rising on him to quit with figures including caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez weighing in on the row

From the dressing room on Sunday, Hermoso was heard commenting on a live social media stream that she had not been happy about the kiss. “But what could I do?!” she said to teammates.

But it was not until Wednesday night that she released her official complaint about Rubiales’ actions, speaking via the union that represents Spanish women football players.

“My union Futpro, in coordination with my agency TMJ, is defending my interests and will be the point of contact in this matter,” she said in her statement. 

Futpro itself added that it wanted the ‘necessary protocols to be implemented, protecting the rights of our players and taking exemplary measures’. 

The statements contradicted quotes that were issued by the Federation itself on Monday, purportedly from Hermoso. In them, she spoke about her ‘great relationship’ with Rubiales, calling the kiss a ‘natural gesture of friendship and gratitude’. 

The digital sports website Relevo published a story earlier this week claiming that these quotes were not from Hermoso but had been written by the Federation. The statements released last night by the player and the union would appear to back this claim. 

Leftist political party Sumar has filed a complaint against Rubiales with the Consejo Superior de Deportes, Spain’s government sports council, as has the Professional Feminine Football League. 

Spain’s culture and sports minister, Miquel Iceta, has also warned that if the Federation itself does not take measures against Rubiales, the central government will.

Read more:

Pressure mounts on Spain’s Football Federation chairman Luis Rubiales to quit after ‘intolerable sexist act’

Pedro Sanchez says apologies are ‘insufficient’ over Spanish FA chief kissing World Cup winning player Jenni Hermoso on lips

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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