Spanish Women’s World Cup champion, midfielder Jenni Hermoso, has firmly stated that she did not give her consent for a kiss from Luis Rubiales, the head of the country’s federation. Despite global outcry over the incident, Rubiales declined to resign on Friday.
In a joint statement released by the women players’ union Futpro, Hermoso and 80 other players have expressed their refusal to accept international call-ups “if the current leadership continues” within the Spanish football federation.
During an emergency RFEF meeting, Rubiales, aged 46, delivered a resolute speech asserting that the kiss exchanged between him and Hermoso was “mutual, euphoric, and consensual.” He further claimed that Hermoso had responded with “OK” when he sought permission for a quick kiss. Rubiales also contended that it was Hermoso who lifted him and brought him close to her.
In a strong retort later on Friday, Hermoso refuted Rubiales’ claims. She clarified, “I want to make it clear that I never agreed to the kiss he gave me, and I certainly never attempted to lift the president,” as stated in the Futpro release. She emphasized her stance, saying, “I won’t stand for my words being questioned, let alone fabricated words I never uttered.”
The statement from Futpro revealed that every player who signed, including the 23 World Cup winners, is taking a united stand. They called for substantive structural changes that would enable the national team to continue its growth and pass on its success to future generations. The statement expressed sadness over the fact that such an unacceptable incident was overshadowing the significant achievement of Spanish women’s football.
Considering the events that transpired during the medal ceremony at the Women’s World Cup, the players signing the statement declared that they would not return to the national team if the current leadership remains in place.
Prior to the World Cup, 15 players had taken a similar stance against the federation, although some eventually relented, and three were part of the team’s victorious journey in Australia and New Zealand.
Numerous players, including two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, conveyed messages of support for Hermoso on social media, with some using the phrase “it’s over,” which could allude to their dissatisfaction with Rubiales’ leadership in Spanish football.
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