The chief of Spain’s soccer federation marred the nation’s Girls’s World Cup victory after kissing a participant on the lips throughout the medal ceremony, drawing criticism for inappropriate conduct in a sport that has struggled to beat sexism.
The Spanish authorities and the world gamers’ union condemned the behaviour of Luis Rubiales on Monday, a day after Spain’s 1-0 win over England. The soccer federation led by Rubiales sought to downplay the incident by way of an announcement it attributed to the participant he kissed, then later launched a video during which Rubiales apologised.
Instantly after Spain’s victory, Rubiales grabbed his crotch in a victory gesture — seemingly oblivious to 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofía standing close by.
He later kissed participant Jenni Hermoso on the lips throughout the medal and trophy ceremony on the sphere, drawing undesirable consideration away from the celebration and souring the nation’s largest day for girls’s soccer.
The kiss was surprising given the game’s long-standing allegations of sexual misconduct by male soccer presidents and coaches in opposition to feminine gamers on nationwide groups. Two of the 32 World Cup groups, Haiti and Zambia, needed to take care of the difficulty whereas qualifying for the event co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Spain’s performing minister for sports activities and tradition Miquel Iceta instructed public broadcaster RNE “it’s unacceptable to kiss a participant on the lips to congratulate her.”
The world gamers’ union referred to as the kiss “deeply lamentable.”
On Sunday, Spain’s authorities equality minister had an excellent stronger response.
“It’s a type of sexual violence that girls undergo every day, and which has been invisible to date, and which we must always not normalise,” Irene Montero mentioned wrote Sunday on X, the social media platform previously often known as Twitter.
The Spanish soccer federation launched an announcement late Sunday, attributed to Hermoso, to attempt to settle the controversy.
“It was a very spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense pleasure of profitable a World Cup,” Hermoso mentioned within the federation’s assertion.
“The president and I’ve a terrific relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been wonderful and it was a pure gesture of affection and gratitude.”
However on Monday the federation launched a video assertion of Rubiales apologizing and acknowledging he “certainly made a mistake” however in “a second of most effusiveness.”
“If you end up president of an establishment as necessary because the federation, it’s a must to be extra cautious,” Rubiales mentioned within the video.
Rubiales, 45, led the world gamers’ union’s Spanish affiliate for eight years earlier than being elected to steer the nationwide soccer federation in 2018. The Spanish squad was in near-mutiny final yr due to some gamers’ complaints concerning the tradition below coach Jorge Vilda.
After the sport, when Hermoso handed alongside the road of soccer dignitaries to gather her medal, Rubiales put his fingers to her head and kissed her on the lips. He additionally hugged a number of different gamers and put his arm round Queen Letizia of Spain.
In an Instagram video within the dressing room after the incident, the gamers screamed and laughed whereas watching the kiss being replayed on a cellphone.
Hermoso will be seen laughing and shouting, “However I did not prefer it!” Requested by different gamers what she was doing, she shouted, “Have a look at me, have a look at me,” intimating she could not do a lot about it.
FIFPRO, the Netherlands-based gamers’ union, took a harsh view of Rubiales’ actions.
“It’s deeply lamentable that such a particular second for the gamers of the Spain nationwide crew that was going down earlier than a world tv viewers needs to be stained by the inappropriate conduct of a person in a job carrying a lot duty,” the union mentioned in an announcement.
“Uninitiated and uninvited bodily gestures in the direction of gamers usually are not acceptable or acceptable in any context. That is very true when gamers are put able of vulnerability as a result of a bodily method or gesture is initiated by an individual who holds energy over them.”
Rubiales is also a UEFA vice chairman and was the European soccer physique’s most senior elected consultant on the ultimate in Australia.
Video clips filmed after the ultimate whistle of Sunday’s match present Rubiales celebrating the victory within the entrance row of an unique part close to the queen of Spain and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Rubiales jumped with each arms within the air, pointing with each index fingers towards the sphere, then briefly grabbed his crotch together with his proper hand.
The previous participant has a key position in wooing soccer officers over the following yr whereas making an attempt to safe internet hosting rights for the boys’s World Cup in 2030. Spain leads a joint bid with Portugal, Morocco and, at the moment, Ukraine for the 48-team event and is favoured to win subsequent yr’s choice.
UEFA and FIFA didn’t instantly reply Monday to requests for remark about Rubiales’s conduct.