Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales refuses to resign despite considerable public backlash after he gave soccer star Jennifer Hermoso a big kiss on the lips after the Spanish women’s team won this year’s Women’s World Cup.
The Spanish women’s team beat England’s women 1-0 on Aug. 20, taking the Women’s World Cup trophy home to Spain.
As the team celebrated the win on the field, Rubiales grabbed the player and gave her a big, passionate kiss.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 25, 2023
Rubiales initially apologized for the kiss but has since walked that back and said he won’t resign for the spontaneous act. Indeed, he said it was consensual.
“My desire in that moment was exactly the same as if I’d have been kissing one of my daughters,” Rubiales said Friday, ESPN reported. “No more or less. Everybody understands that. It was a spontaneous kiss, mutual, euphoric, and consensual.”
He also says he asked her for the kiss right there on the field.
“In the moment that Jenni arrived, she lifted me up off the ground. We almost fell over. We hugged. I said, ‘Forget about the penalty, you’ve been fantastic, we wouldn’t have won the World Cup without you,’” Rubiales explained. “She said: ‘You’re great.’ I said ‘A kiss?’ and she said: ‘Yes.’”
Hermoso says that the kiss surprised her and that she did not consent to the smooch.
BREAKING: Spanish player Jenni Hermoso has said “in no moment” did she consent to a kiss from Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s football federation.
📺 Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/cyEz7WQ2A4
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 25, 2023
Comunicado Oficial. Agosto 25, 2023. pic.twitter.com/4OqhqwwJ8P
— Jenn1 Hermos0 (@Jennihermoso) August 25, 2023
The translation of Hermoso’s post is as follows:
Part 1: “After achieving one of the most desired successes of my sporting career and after some days of reflection, I want to thank my teammates, fans, followers, media outlets, and everyone who has made this dream a reality with all my heart; your work and unconditional support have been a fundamental part of winning the World Cup. Referring to what happened today. While it is true that, on my part, I don’t want to interfere with the multiple ongoing legal processes, I feel obligated to denounce that the worlds of Mr. Luis Rubiales explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated. I clarify that at no time did the conversation that Mr. Luis Rubiales referenced take place and that, much less, was the kiss consensual. I would like to also reiterate at the same time, as I did at the time, that this act did not please me.”
Part 2: “The situation caused me shock because of the celebratory context and, with the passage of time and after going a little deeper into those initial sensations, I feel the need to denounce this act as I think that no person in any labor, social, or sporting venue should be the victim of this time of non-consensual behavior. I felt vulnerable and the victim of an aggression, an impulsive, sexist, out-of-place act without any sort of consent. Simply, I was not respected. It was asked of me to develop a joint statement to reduce the pressure on the president, but in these moments in my head all I had was the idea of enjoying the historic act achieved with my teammates. Because of that, in every moment I told the RFEF and its distinct interlocutors, as well as media and people close to me, that I would not make any sort of declaration, individual or joint, about the matter, as I understood that, once I do it, I would take even more attention away from such a special moment for my teammates and I.”
Part 3: “Despite my decision, I have to say that I have been under continuous pressure to come out with some sort of declaration that could justify Mr. Luis Rubiales’ act. Not only that but, in different ways and through different people, the RFEF has pressured my circle (family, friends, teammates etc) to give a testimony that had little or nothing to do with my feelings. It is not my place to evaluate practices of communication of integrity, but I am sure that, as a World Champion National Team, we do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile, and controlling culture. This type of incident joins a long list of situations that [female] players have been denouncing in the past few years in which this act, in which I have found myself involved, is just the drop that overflows the glass and what the whole world has been able to see, but attitudes like these have been part of the day-to-day of our team for years. For all this, I would like to reinforce the position I took from the beginning, considering that I do not have to support the person who has committed this act against my will, without respecting me, in a historic moment for me and for women’s sports in this country.”
Part 4: “In no case must it be my responsibility to assume the consequences of transmitting something I don’t believe in, the reason for which I have rejected the pressure received. ZERO TOLERANCE with this behavior. I want to conclude by leaving very clear that if it is me who expresses these words, it is all the [female] players of Spain and in the world who have given me the strength to come out with this statement. Before such a demonstration of a lack of respect and incapacity to recognize one’s own mistakes and assume the consequences, I have taken the decision to not return to play for the team so long as the current leaders are in charge. Thank you to all for the messages of support and the words of encouragement received. I know I am not alone and thanks to you all we will move forward more united. I leave this topic at the hands of people in my confidence TMJ and FUTPRO and they will continue to work on the following steps in regards to the latest developments.”
In addition, the Spanish women’s team has now said that they won’t play another game until Rubiales resigns or is removed from office, the Guardian reported.
While Rubiales has repeatedly said he won’t resign over the kiss, the Spanish government is now launching an inquiry into the incident and pledged to move quickly to a resolution.