#UPDATE at 20.30h on Friday 25 Aug
All the players of Spain’s World Cup winning women’s squad, in addition to other players, have signed a statement released by FUTPRO in support of Jenni Hermoso, condemning the ‘behaviours that have violated the dignity of women’, and stating that they will not play any further matches for the national team ‘if the current leaders [directors] continue’ in their roles. (See tweet below).
Original full report:
Women’s World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas is among many top players saying the current situation in Spanish football is ‘unacceptable’ after Luis Rubiales refused to resign as president of the country’s Football Federation (RFEF) on Friday, amid strong criticism of his behaviour at last weekend’s final in Sydney. ALSO READ: ‘Harassment, assault … denigrating Spanish sport’ – pressure grows on Rubiales to resign.
In a bizarre address at an emergency meeting of the RFEF on Friday, Rubiales shouted: ‘I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign’ – with many of his audience of delegates applauding him. ‘A consensual “peck” is enough to get me out of here? I will fight until the end,’ he said.
Soon after his speech, Barcelona star Putellas wrote on X (formerly Twitter): ‘This is unacceptable. It’s over. With you my team-mate, Jenni Hermoso [who Rubiales kissed on the lips].’
Her tweet was followed by many others from the Spanish Women’s team, all using the same ‘it’s over’ hashtag in Spanish, #SeAcabó, which quickly started trending.
‘There are limits that cannot be crossed and we cannot tolerate this. We are with you, Jenni,’ wrote Aitana Bonmatí Conca, while others said that the situation was ‘intolerable’ and that they’d had ‘enough of the lies’.
Meanwhile, a Spanish men’s national team player, Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias, who was called up to the national team in 2022 but did not play in the World Cup in Qatar, said he would not play for his country unless Rubiales is reprimanded for his actions at the Women’s World Cup.
Former men’s World Cup winning Spanish captain Iker Casillas also slammed the attitude of Rubiales in a tweet.
‘I’m ashamed for you,’ the former goalkeeper wrote. ‘We should have spent these five days talking about our girls! Of the joy they gave us all! To boast of a title that we did not have in women’s football, but …’
FC Barcelona also issued a statement on Friday, saying the club ‘wishes to make clear that it considers totally improper and inappropriate the RFEF president’s behaviour during the celebrations for the World Cup victory achieved by the Spanish Women’s team. The incident we consider to be deplorable.’
Rubiales, 46, had been expected to step down on Friday after government ministers and figures within sport demanded his resignation and world football’s governing body FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against him.
However, far from resigning, he said the pressure he had received this week from politicians and clubs was an attempt ‘to publicly assassinate me’ and that he would defend himself by ‘taking action’ against those people.
The RFEF chief claimed his kiss on Jenni Hermoso’s lips was consensual and done in the same spirit as kissing his child. (A statement from Hermoso can be seen below).
‘It was a spontaneous kiss, mutual, euphoric, and consensual,’ said Rubiales. He also said he would be taking legal action against politicians who had used the terms of ‘sexual violence’, ‘without consent’ and ‘assault’ regarding the kiss (see Tweet and video report below via ElDiario.es).
The president did apologise for grabbing his testicles during the celebrations of the 1-0 win against England in the final, while standing near to Spanish Queen Letizia.
‘I want to say sorry for the deeds that happened in a moment of euphoria, I grabbed that part of my body and did so looking at Jorge Vilda (the coach),’ Rubiales said. ‘I was so emotional, I lost control and I took my hands there.’
Rubiales also said he had started the process of offering controversial coach Jorge Vilda a new deal on a €500,000 increase in salary and four year extension to his contract.
Spain arrived at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand shrouded in controversy, after 15 players refused to play because of disagreements with the federation and Vilda, although some relented and three formed part of the winning squad.
Rubiales’ defiant stance has also prompted fresh calls for the Spanish government to take action, while world players’ union FIFPRO said UEFA – for whom Rubiales is an executive committee member and vice-president – must open disciplinary proceedings.
FIFPRO said it had written to UEFA, saying: ‘Any lack of action by authorities in addressing the conduct of Mr Rubiales would send an entirely unacceptable and damaging message to the football industry and wider society.’
European football’s governing body has yet to issue any comment on the case.
Rubiales’ refusal to resign was ‘unacceptable’, Spain’s second deputy prime minister Yolanda Díaz also said on Friday. ‘The government must act and take urgent measures: impunity for macho actions is over. Rubiales cannot continue in office,’ she reiterated.
Díaz will be meeting on Monday 28 August with the president of the main Spanish women’s soccer union, FUTPRO, and a delegation from her work team.
Statement from Jenni Hermoso
Please note that for Jenni Hermoso’s personal statement, you can find it within this report: FIFA provisionally suspends Rubiales, as RFEF threatens to sue protesting female players.
Jennifer Hermoso has issued a statement calling for ‘exemplary measures’ for Luis Rubiales. She has done so through the FUTPRO union and her representation agency. This is the statement:
‘My union FUTPRO, in coordination with my agency TMJ are taking care of defending my interests and being the interlocutors on this matter. From FUTPRO we express our firm and resounding condemnation of conduct that violates the dignity of women.
‘From our association we ask the Royal Spanish Football Federation to implement the necessary protocols, ensure the rights of our players and adopt exemplary measures. It is essential that our national team, current world champion, is always represented by figures that project values of equality and respect in all areas. It is necessary to continue to advance in the fight for equality, a fight that our female players have led with determination, bringing us to the position we are in today. We also call on the Consejo Superior de Deportes to support and actively promote prevention and intervention against sexual harassment or abuse, machismo and sexism, within its competences.’
In an Instagram live stream of the celebrations in the dressing rooms after the World Cup Final, Hermoso was seen apparently making her distaste known about the kiss, responding, ‘Hey, but I didn’t like that!’ when shown a video clip of it – although she was laughing as she spoke.
Later, the media cited comments supposedly made by Hermosa yet passed to them by the Spanish Football Federation.
‘It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings,’ she reportedly said. ‘The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.’ These comments have not been confirmed as being made by Hermosa.
🚨 Las jugadoras de la @SEFutbolFem, campeonas del mundo y otras futbolistas, en apoyo a @Jennihermoso , manifiestan su firme condena ante conductas que han atentado contra la dignidad de las mujeres.— FUTPRO (@futpro_es) August 25, 2023
El comunicado queda abierto a las futbolistas que se quieran adherir#seacabo pic.twitter.com/PW91SW9Ts0
Esto es inaceptable. Se acabó. Contigo compañera @Jennihermoso— Alexia Putellas (@alexiaputellas) August 25, 2023
'I will not resign!' 📣— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 25, 2023
Luis Rubiales passionately refuses to step down as president of the Spanish FA ❌
He's faced criticism for kissing forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain's World Cup win.#BBCFootball pic.twitter.com/OnxlFbwpv9
🔴 Rubiales: "La señora Yolanda Díaz, la señora Montero, la señora Belarra, el señor Echenique se han referido (al beso) con la palabra 'vejar', 'violencia sexual', 'sin consentimiento', 'agredir'. (…) Voy a ejercer acciones contra estas personas" https://t.co/RAu6m3Znoj pic.twitter.com/GDkNvTM3bR— elDiario.es (@eldiarioes) August 25, 2023