The Nation and the World

The Spanish soccer team victory is overshadowed by a controversial kiss 

 President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RSEF) Luis Rubiales has resigned and is being sued after he kissed a member of the Spanish women’s soccer team, Jenni Hermoso, after the team’s victory in the women’s World Cup over the summer.

On August 20, the Spanish soccer team beat the English 1-0 and won their first women’s World Cup title. However, during the medal ceremony following the victory, Rubiales, 46, grabbed 33 year-old Hermoso’s face and kissed her on the lips. Although Rubiales claims that the kiss was consensual, the soccer player denies giving consent. Hermoso claims that she was pressured by the soccer federation to make a statement to show her support for the kiss and to defende Rubiales’ actions. According to the Guardian, Hermoso said that she “didn’t like it” in a livestream following the kiss. 

Rubiales initially claimed that it was a simple kiss to show friendly affection, and that it was not inappropriate. Then, in a federation meeting on August 25 reported on by NPR, Rubiales stated five times, repeatedly, that he would not step down from his position: “no voy a dimitir.” According to AP, he blamed “false feminists” for the scandal and claimed that he was the victim. However, Hermosos and over 20 of her teammates signed a statement saying that they would not play for Spain until there is change. 

In a statement on X, previously known as Twitter, Rubiales admits that “it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position” and submitted his resignation on September 10. Legal action is underway, and Rubiales appeared in court after Hermoso formally submitted a complaint. Prosecutors accuse Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion, reports AP. Spain’s sexual assault laws changed recently; under the “Only Yes Is Yes” law, the kiss can be considered as sexual assault because it was not consented too by both parties explains BBC. Rubiales, if found guilty, may face a fine or even a prison sentence. However, he and his lawyer, Olga Tubau, still deny the allegations. 

The kissing scandal caused a ripple effect and other members of the Spanish women’s soccer team management have been called into question. Jorge Vilda, former head coach, was fired after video footage leaked of him touching a female staff member inappropriately. He was replaced by coach Montse Tomé, the first woman to hold this position. 

However, coach Montse Tomé controversially announced that Jenni Hermoso was left off of the roster for the first two matches after the World Cup. The coach says that she believes this is the best way to protect her from the intense media attention. Hermoso disagrees. In a statement on the platform X, Hermoso wrote, “protect me from what?” and claims that “nothing has changed.” 

Image Source: Pulse Sports


Comments are closed.