Spanish Soccer Player Refutes Federation President’s Claim of Consensual Kiss

by Sophia Chen
Luis Rubiales Resignation Demand

The beleaguered president of Spain’s soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, tenaciously held on to his position on Friday, asserting that his kiss on the lips with women’s soccer player Jenni Hermoso was mutual—an assertion vehemently contested by Hermoso.

In a striking show of solidarity, all 22 of Hermoso’s World Cup-winning teammates, along with 58 other players from Spain, have vowed not to represent the country unless Rubiales resigns from his post. Confronted with the looming possibility of his ouster, Rubiales, aged 46, portrayed himself as the aggrieved party during an emergency federation assembly in Madrid.

Resignation is not an option,” he adamantly stated on four separate occasions, eliciting applause from a predominantly male audience.

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Rubiales, who had also garnered criticism for an inappropriate crotch-grabbing gesture following Spain’s 1-0 victory against England, is under mounting pressure to relinquish his office. The controversial kiss has tarnished championship celebrations and attracted widespread criticism, including from Spain’s acting Prime Minister, various players unions, and members of both men’s and women’s national teams.

In defiance of numerous media reports suggesting his impending resignation, Rubiales stated on Friday that he was the target of a “spurious feminist” campaign. While he remained steadfast, federation vice president Rafael del Amo, previously overseeing women’s soccer, announced his own resignation. At least two other federation members followed suit.

Among those applauding Rubiales’ stance were the coaches for both the women’s and men’s national teams, Jorge Vilda and Luis de la Fuente respectively. Up until Friday’s assembly, Rubiales had been devoid of any public support in Spain, with political figures from both the left and the right condemning his actions.

During his address, Rubiales claimed that Hermoso had “elevated him” in a celebratory gesture and had consented to the kiss. “It was a familial kiss, similar to one I would give to my daughters,” he argued.

Hermoso later refuted this account through a statement released via her FUTRPO players’ union. “I did not consent to this kiss and I never tried to elevate him,” she insisted. The statement was co-signed by her World Cup-winning teammates and 58 other players, all of whom pledged to abstain from national representation under the current leadership.

Rubiales has declared his intention to legally defend his honor against political figures who have labeled his actions as sexual violence. Acting Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz has called for “urgent measures,” declaring an end to “impunity for male-dominated actions.”

Numerous soccer clubs, players, and authorities have also called for Rubiales’ resignation or suspension. FIFA has initiated a disciplinary case against him, with potential sanctions ranging from warnings and fines to suspensions.

Notably, European soccer body UEFA has yet to issue any comment on the issue. Rubiales, a vice president of UEFA, is currently spearheading a UEFA-supported bid for Spain to host the men’s World Cup in 2030, in conjunction with Portugal, Morocco, and potentially Ukraine.

Rubiales earned 339,000 euros after taxes in 2021 for leading a federation with a budget of 382 million euros. The federation oversees both the men’s and women’s national teams, semi-professional and amateur leagues, and officiating for La Liga. Although the government maintains some oversight, it lacks the power to appoint or remove executives.

In an additional controversy prior to the infamous kiss, Rubiales had made a crotch-grabbing gesture in the vicinity of Queen Letizia of Spain and 16-year old Princess Sofía, for which he later issued an apology.

In a poignant critique, former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas said, “Instead of focusing on the achievements of our women’s team, we are embroiled in this embarrassment.” Another prominent voice, Real Betis forward Borja Iglesias, pledged not to play for the national team “until changes are made.”

Additional Resources

For ongoing Women’s World Cup coverage, visit FIFA Women’s World Cup News

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Luis Rubiales Scandal

What is the controversy involving Luis Rubiales and Jenni Hermoso?

Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s soccer federation, is facing calls for his resignation after a kiss on the lips with Women’s Soccer player Jenni Hermoso. Rubiales insists the kiss was consensual, but Hermoso strongly denies this claim.

Who else is involved in demanding Rubiales’ resignation?

Numerous parties have called for Rubiales’ resignation, including all 22 of Hermoso’s fellow world champions, 58 other Spanish players, Spain’s acting Prime Minister, players unions, and several men’s teams.

What was the reaction of the federation’s vice president and other members?

Federation vice president Rafael del Amo, who had been in charge of women’s soccer, announced his resignation, followed by at least two other federation members.

What are the legal consequences that Rubiales might face?

Spain’s government is planning to file a lawsuit alleging that Rubiales violated the country’s sports laws. If found guilty, he could be ruled unfit to hold office. FIFA has also opened a disciplinary case against him.

What stance have Spanish soccer clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid taken?

Barcelona stated that Rubiales’ behavior “was completely inappropriate.” Real Madrid supported the government’s decision to try to suspend him. Sevilla and Espanyol have also joined in the criticism.

What is the position of international soccer bodies like FIFA and UEFA?

FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against Rubiales, but as of now, UEFA, where Rubiales serves as a vice president, has remained silent on the issue.

How has this incident affected Rubiales’ financial standing and other professional engagements?

Rubiales earned 339,000 euros ($365,000) in 2021 for presiding over the federation with a budget of 382 million euros ($412 million). He is also currently heading the UEFA-backed bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2030.

What is the role of social media in this controversy?

Several players and public figures have expressed their disapproval and support for Hermoso on social media platforms. Alexia Putellas, Hermoso’s teammate, posted a message of support, as did several other teammates and notable figures in Spanish men’s soccer.

What happened at the emergency meeting of the federation in Madrid?

At an emergency meeting, Rubiales declared four times that he would not resign, casting himself as a victim. He received applause from an overwhelmingly male audience.

What could be the long-term impact on Spanish women’s soccer if Rubiales stays in power?

The players who signed the statement against Rubiales have announced they will no longer play for Spain if he remains in charge, which could severely impact the team’s performance and reputation.

More about Luis Rubiales Scandal

  • Luis Rubiales Defends Actions Amid Calls for Resignation
  • Jenni Hermoso’s Statement on Non-consensual Kiss
  • Federation Vice President Resigns Amid Scandal
  • Legal Consequences Facing Luis Rubiales
  • Spanish Soccer Clubs React to Rubiales Controversy
  • FIFA Opens Disciplinary Case Against Rubiales
  • Social Media Reactions to Rubiales-Hermoso Incident
  • Emergency Federation Meeting in Madrid: Details
  • Long-term Impact on Spanish Women’s Soccer
  • Players and Officials Call for Rubiales’ Removal

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UEFAwatcher August 25, 2023 - 9:11 pm

Did anyone see the emergency meeting? The applause he got was sickening.

TruthSeeker2023 August 25, 2023 - 11:14 pm

if he’s found guilty, it’s not just resignation. Could be banned from all soccer activities. Would serve him right.

JohnDoe1982 August 26, 2023 - 9:10 am

Can’t believe Rubiales is refusing to step down. This guy has no shame!

PoliticalObserver August 26, 2023 - 12:05 pm

interesting that politicians are also stepping in. This is turning into a big scandal and legal issue.

RealMadrid4Life August 26, 2023 - 12:58 pm

“false feminists”? Rubiales is digging his own grave with such statements.

SoccerFanatic August 26, 2023 - 1:12 pm

wow, this is huge. If players refuse to play, Spanish women’s soccer could take a major hit.

JustSaying August 26, 2023 - 1:19 pm

Good on Real Madrid for supporting the gov’s decision. Rubiales needs to go, period.

AmyLovesSports August 26, 2023 - 1:43 pm

Seriously? Rubiales calls himself a victim? That’s just wrong on so many levels.

WomensRightsNow August 26, 2023 - 3:08 pm

kinda curious why UEFA is silent. Isn’t Rubiales their vice president?


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