The Spanish women’s national team is coming off an impressive FIFA Women’s World Cup final victory. But their championship has been overshadowed by what happened after the game.
Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales kissed Spain’s Jenni Hermoso during the postgame medal ceremony. The act sparked outrage, but Rubiales has refused to step down from his leadership position, saying the calls for his ouster were merely a campaign of “social assassination” by what he characterized as “false feminists.”
On Friday, the 23 women who make up the Spanish national team’s roster announced that they would not return to play for the team as long as Rubiales remained in power.
Hermoso released a joint statement via her players union FUTPRO on Friday refuting Rubiales’ claim that the kiss was consensual.
“I want to clarify, as you can see in the images, that at no time did I consent to the kiss that he gave me,” Hermoso said. “I won’t tolerate that my word is called into question, and even less so that words are invented which I didn’t say.”
Hermoso and her teammates called for “real change to help the national team to keep growing, to be able to bring this great success to the generations to come” and said they would not play for Spain while “the current management” remains at the RFEF.
In a separate statement posted later on social media, Hermoso again stated the Rubiales interaction with her was “nonconsensual.”
“I clarify that at no time did the conversation occur which Luis Rubiales referred to, and his kiss was not consensual. In the same way, I want to repeat, as I did at the time, that the incident was not to my liking,” she posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Hermoso also mentioned that the kiss put her in a vulnerable position.
“The situation was a shock for me, in the context of the celebration, and with the passing of time and analyzing in more detail those initial feelings, I feel the need to denounce this act as I believe no person in their work, sporting or social environment should be the victim of this kind of nonconsensual behavior. I felt vulnerable and the victim of aggression, an impulsive, sexist act which was out of place and with no consent on my behalf.”
Three members of the soccer federation, including vice president Rafael del Amo, have recently decided to step down.
Spain’s government planned to file a lawsuit Friday alleging that Rubiales violated the country’s sports laws, according to Víctor Francos, secretary of state for sports and head of Spain’s Higher Council for Sports. If the court hears the case and finds Rubiales guilty of committing sexist acts, he could be removed from office.
A total of 58 former Spanish national team players co-signed the statement announcing the boycott.
POST AUTHOR: Chantz Martin