Please note this is an ongoing story, meaning further updates are likely.
On Sunday 20th August, Spanish Football Chief, Luis Rubiales found himself the subject of justified scrutiny after kissing 33 year old forward of the Spanish football team, Jennifer Hermoso on the lips, non consensually, while celebrating the team’s win at the Women’s World Cup final.
Not only did he ruin a moment of celebration for the team, in a move of almost pantomime villain evilness has labelled those who have called his actions into scrutiny as “social assassination” and “false feminism”. After refusing to step down from his post on Friday, declaring that he will “fight this to the end”. On Saturday 26 August, Rubiales convinced the FA to announce that the Spanish football star was lying in response to a statement on Friday by Hermoso that said that she “in no moment” consented to the kiss. The FA’s lengthy statement included images of the President being ‘encouraged’ by the player, picking him up in a friendly, joyful hug, seemingly trying to justify a non-consensual kiss with a friendly display of camaraderie.
The Spanish Women’s national football team have signed a joint statement to say they will not play again until Rubiales is removed from his position, to which Rubiales responded saying they will be sued by the FA because it is in breach of contract for players under the federation to not play when they are called up.
Most have expressed their solidarity with Hermoso, including their opponents, the English Lionesses who called the FA “patriarchal” and backed the play boycott, posting: “We all stand with you, @jennihermoso and all players of the Spanish team.” The Spanish Government have started an investigation into Rubiales’ actions as well as FIFA, with a notable lack of comment from UEFA, of which Rubiales is a part of. Rubiales has never kissed a male player on the lips in celebration and many people are calling him out online, saying that the Machismo in football culture needs to end.
Rubiales was also forced to apologise for grabbing his crotch in front of the Spanish Queen Letizia and her 16 year old daughter in the VIP area when celebrating during the game so it is clear that his behaviour is not an isolated incident.
It’s a shame that the only discussion that has come out of this huge achievement for women is a conversation about a man’s poor behaviour, the players did amazingly and deserve to be treated as such.
*Since this article was written FIFA has made the decision to suspend Luis Ruiables.