The entire Spain women’s football team, have signed a statement in support of Jenni Hermoso, condemning the ‘behaviour 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 continue’ in their roles.
The furore that has erupted in Spanish football over the head of the Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, refusal to resign over his behaviour at the FIFA World Cup Final in Sydney last weekend has become an international news event.
At the final whistle he was seen to have celebrated by making gestures with his genitalia and subsequently kissed Jenni Hermoso forcefully on the lips following the Spanish 1-0 victory over England.
Rubiales claimed the kiss was consensual and done in the same spirit as kissing his child.
‘It was a spontaneous kiss, mutual, euphoric, and consensual,’ he said.
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
In a defiant speech at an emergency meeting of the RFEF on Friday, Rubiales declared: ‘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.
Former men’s World Cup winning Spanish captain Iker Casillas,said in a tweet: ‘I’m ashamed for you. ‘We should have spent these five days talking about our girls! Of the joy they gave us all!’
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.’
The government has joined the chorus for his resignation and the minister of sport has said they would not sit this out with “our arms folded.
Spain’s second deputy prime minister Yolanda Díaz also weighed in against Rubiales saying that ‘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 team.
Jennifer Hermoso herself has issued a statement calling for ‘exemplary measures’ for Luis Rubiales. She has done so through the FUTPRO union saying: “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.’